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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

PHASERS ON STUN

UPDATE: Dr. Fauci says Rumpole is right!

In a Facebook interview with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Dr. Fauci said this:

Another reason to wear a mask: "There's good enough data to say that aerosol transmission does occur," Fauci told Murphy, meaning the virus can hang around in the air "for a period of time," instead of falling to the ground in larger droplets.


UPDATES: We have two  three. First check our Judge Faber's hard-hitting response to our post in the comments section. And in response we link to this NY Times article about the politicization of the FDA approval process for a vaccine.  And 3rd a little birdy whispered to us the new Supreme Court nominee and she didn't use to work in Miami😢😢

Get out your face masks and face shields and get ready for phase two boys and girls. 

First, an obligatory comment praising our administrative judges. They are working hard on trying to get back to normal. They have guidelines issued by the Florida Supreme Court that they have to follow. The pressure is on and they are doing their best. Phase two does not mean the regular resumption of in person court calendars. But it does bring more people into the courthouse. 

Now our piece. THIS IS MADNESS!!  Jury trials (limited) will resume. Who wants to get Covid and die trying a case?  Step right up and enter the REGJB where the windows do not open and there is no fresh air and the AC is one step up from fans blowing on blocks of ice. 

IT IS NOT SAFE TO BE INSIDE A PUBLIC BUILDING. Rinse and repeat. Covid is spread by aerosols, tiny particles that N95 masks do not block and which linger in the air for 6-8 hours. One person in an elevator at a time? Nonsense and not safe unless there is an advanced HEPPA air filter and the interior is sprayed with Lysol after every trip. Use the escalator? Imagine a stream of colored air coming from each person you are behind much like the contrails of a jet. That is their exhaled aerosols you are breathing that will infect and kill you. Walk crowded stairwells with out of shape lawyers huffing and puffing out virus droplets? No thanks. So how do we get around the building safely? We don't. There is no way. 

Temperature check before entering? 

  HEALTH SCREENING REQUIRED, INCLUDING TEMPERATURE CHECK

-          Court security staff will conduct a health screening, including questions about symptoms and a required temperature check, to ensure that no one enters the courthouse when there is a likelihood that they have COVID-19. Persons who have a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater or who answer “yes” to two or more of the symptom questions shall not be allowed to enter the courthouse, and the presiding judge will be notified.

-          If an individual declines the health screening, they will not be allowed into the courthouse and the presiding judge will be notified.


COVID IS SPREAD BY ASYMPTOMATIC PEOPLE.  Temperature checks do not work with asymptomatic people. They have no symptoms like a temperature and they spread the virus. That is the difference between Covid and SARS. SARS is spread by only symptomatic people. That is why SARS killed 800 people worldwide and Covid has killed over 200 thousand Americans. 

N95 Face masks stop 95% of airborne particles. First- that white and blue mask everyone wears is not an N95 mask. Second, are you happy breathing in 5% of the air from a Covid positive person? We are not. And yet the memo says this: 

Ø  FACE MASKS REQUIRED

-          Face masks shall be worn at all times, including during court proceedings, while on court premises. If someone does not have a face mask, courthouse security staff will provide one.

-          If an individual declines to wear a mask, they will not be allowed into the courthouse and the presiding judge will be notified.


Six foot distancing being safe is a myth according to MIT and Oxford. We understand it's not  Hialeah Hospital giving this opinion, but MIT and Oxford seem to know what they are doing. 

Yet the memo says this:

Ø  SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIRED

-          Persons must maintain 6 feet of social distancing from each other while waiting to enter the courthouse and during their stay in the courthouse. Markers on the floor throughout the courthouse will assist visitors with maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.

Six foot distances being called safe, inside a building with no open windows is not just a myth- it may be manslaughter. It is reckless and dangerous behavior and mark our words- someone is going to get sick and die for something preventable. 

Set up a courtroom in Marlin's stadium. Seriously. With a breeze and fresh air and masks AND face shields with everyone miked up, a trial could be safely done. Bringing people inside a building built in 1960 that has dirty air and no open windows is beyond reckless. 

And yet, according to the memo that is just what they are going to do: 

 

The courts will transition to Phase 2 COVID-19 emergency operations on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. A description of Phase 2 operations is listed below.

During Phase 2, the courts will remain closed to in-person proceedings, with exceptions, in order to reduce person-to-person contact and potential transmission of coronavirus disease COVID-19. Court proceedings that can take place remotely via telephone or video technology will continue to take place. Trials will resume in limited number following strict adherence to health and safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health authorities. A video explaining the steps the Miami-Dade Courts are taking to keep all trial participants safe may be found

TRIALS

Trials will resume with in-person jury selection and in-person trial proceedings following strict safety protocols established by the CDC and other health experts with whom the Miami-Dade Courts consult regularly.

Due to the space limitations of our courthouses and the social distancing and other safety protocols required during the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be fewer trials conducted than in the past. In order to ensure social distancing and keep the number of people inside our courthouses to a minimum, only the trial participants will be permitted to enter the courthouses.

 

THIS IS MADNESS. We cannot bring people together inside our aging courthouses unless either : 1- there is daily at home inexpensive test. Take the test. Transmit the result to an app, scan the app for entrance into court, restaurants, Dolphin games, bars; and/or 2- there is an effective vaccine. Your own Rumpole is enrolled in a Vaccine study. We will be inoculated shortly. 

But in case we have not been clear lets make sure we are not being misread: It is not safe to go to phase two and bring people into the courthouse for any reason, especially trials. 

Phase two does not mean the end of Zoom hearings. We get that. But that is next up. And right now the Judges are going  to start trials on a limited basis. Why? Just to do it? The risks outweigh the rewards. We have judges in the REJGB who had Covid. Everyone now knows someone who has been sick or who has died from Covid.  What we do not want to happen- and what will occur- is that some healthy person right now- a courtroom clerk, a court reporter; a juror; a witness; a judge or some young ASA or PD will get sick and die. No one wants that happen. Phase two is judge a meaningless phase. When a sick person goes to the hospital and they suspect Covid is the person going to say "I can't have Covid- we are in phase two." ? No, but they may die. 

Stop the madness before it starts. Keep courts closed except for virtual hearings. 


46 comments:

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE SIMPLY WRONG. The reality is that nothing is being done without the involvement of professionals to guide our efforts. POSTS LIKE THIS DO NOT HELP and only serve to stir the pot of panic. WE ARE FOLLOWING THE SCIENCE in doing this and have no choice now that we are in Phase 2. Masks do work and we already have air exchangers, plexiglass partitions and will use the large courtrooms where the volume of air inside assists us in preventing viral loads from being transmitted. Yes our building is an aging relic but it is cleaned daily and will not be crowded with people as it was in the past. No one will be admitted into the building exhibiting signs of illness including jurors and that, coupled with social distancing and choreographed movement of jurors and litigants, will allow us to re-begin jury trials at REG. It is true that asymptomatic transmission is possible but our efforts are intended to prevent even that person from exposing others who may be nearby. Trials will look different to be sure but attorneys, Judges and staff will adapt to this new reality and IT WILL BE SAFE. It sounds like you may still be afraid. Then just withdraw so someone who understands the science and the reality can takeover for you.

Judge Robin Faber

Anonymous said...

Atta boy, Robin!

Rumpole said...

Dear Judge Faber. Thank you for reading and participating. We disagree and it is fundamentally on this. I do agree you and all the admin judges are following the science and as Janet Reno use to say doing your "level best" to make it safe. I do not doubt the hard work and dedication and best intentions. You are all dedicated to bringing back the court system so many of us have devoted our lives to.

But the science you are following is not real science. It is science shaped by politics. Much like when Copernicus had the audacity to announce the earth was not the center of the universe and the Catholic Church condemned him as a heretic. The CDC and the WHO WILL NOT acknowledge that this virus is transmitted by aerosols. Fomite (touch) transmission is not an issue. Spraying the handrails on the escalators is meaningless. Cleaning the building with a deep clean every day will not help. (Spraying every few hours might but then we all have to leave) As the MIT article I cited to makes clear, with aerosol transmission, six feet distance is not enough. Neither is just any mask. So those six foot boxes in the courthouse do not protect me or anyone. Nor am I protected when a poor litigant who is wearing a bandana around their face because they cannot afford the N95 mask I wear. Nor am I protected by people who wear masks with their nose exposed. SO== your six foot distancing is not based on the real science. Neither is your mask requirement. Neither will the temperature check before entering help me or you when an asymptomatic person with no temperature and shedding the virus comes to be a juror. Neither will I be safe as I wait in a long line to get into the building next to some moron outside who will not wear their mask until they get inside - the long line being from the slowdown at security for temp checks.

The CDC and WHO are POLITICAL organizations and they make recommendations based on politics. And the politics of today wants people to accept that any mask, washing your hands, six foot distancing, and a temp check before entering will ensure our safety.

I again say with all respect it is not safe for our REGJB or ANY BUILDING to open up until we have at home daily tests and an effective vaccine.

Your Obt svt.
H rumpole, Blog proprietor.

the trialmaster said...

And the only people who will be on the jury are those stupid who still believe the COVID-19 is a "hoax". In other words, a Trumper. I doubt there is a criminal defense attorney who would want a jury made up of those morons.

Anonymous said...

I really like Judge Faber but, I really hate his comment that lawyers afraid should "withdraw." I find that highly offensive. THis assumes it actually came from Robin Faber.

I personally believe about 125,000 people died directly from COVID. SO, Robin, tell that to one of those families and see how they react when you demand they enter a busy building.

Anonymous said...

There is no one who has ever entered the REG that believes that building is safe for humans even without a virus.

Anonymous said...

"WE ARE FOLLOWING THE SCIENCE in doing this and have no choice now that we are in Phase 2."

Right - medical science says lock down everything; the science of economics say open up; political science (depending on the party you ascribe to) says another. Which science are you following? It can't be the science of infectious disease.

"Judges and staff will adapt to this new reality and IT WILL BE SAFE."

No..."SAFE" would be a lockdown - what you mean is "SAFER" than doing nothing at all. Fine, but when you start dealing with acceptable levels of risk - a decision that in your position, you impose upon other people - you just make sure that you are available to visit the families of the court and jail staff who are inevitably going to be hospitalized with severe illness (or worse).

I applaud you for writing in, but next time, run you post by a colleague, or better yet, a lawyer, who can point out the problems with what you are saying. Because, mark my words, the more people in that building prior to an effective vaccine that is effectively deployed, the more illnesses that will occur with the people who work in that building -

What are you going to say to them and their families when they say to you...'but Judge...you assured us in writing and told us that "IT WILL BE SAFE"?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, for a white client in a case that involves a claim of self defense, they would probably be great.

Rumpole said...

Well said 12:03. I could use a break with a big brief due. Feel like running the blog for a few days?

Anonymous said...

Rump
N95 masks are absolutely effective, when used properly. If they werent, 100% of nurses and doctors treating covid patients would contract covid. They havent. How do you explain that? You simply cannot. You cannot do that. It is fatal to your position.

"are you happy breathing in 5% of the air"

You are astoundingly uninformed. N95s dont block air at all. They block particles in the air. And you can whine about aerosols all you want, but science has already proven they work! Wake up and get some air to your brain!

Anonymous said...

I find Judge Faber's comments more than offensive. People are allowed to voice their opinions on this Blog. In essence he is attacking someone for having an opinion, different from his, that many people share. His post smacks of authoritarianism and is hardly measured. Judge Faber's post comes very close to name calling. I happen to share Rumpole's opinion. I would not want to go to the Justice Building now. Moreover, why should a client have to choose between the lawyer he wants to have represent him, who doesn't feel safe, and having his lawyer withdraw. If jury trials resume, it should be on a volunteer basis where all parties agree to participate.

Fake Judge Elect Rosy Aponte said...

I do not no if my koleagues no that ther is a virus caled kovid that affects poele and can kill them and I suport the courts being closed but i no there is a spedy traial rule and that means cases must be tryed soon and with no trials juges like me wil have they're hands full witch is why we become public serpents. So lets get back to work!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the consensus is among county and circuit court judges who are currently working at the Justice Building. Rumpole, you know a lot of people. Are you in personal contact with any county or circuit court judges who are at the Justice Building in person several days a week? If so, what are these judges saying to you off the record?

Anonymous said...

SCFL just released opinion in the Parkland shooting case. The 30-some victims can claim only $200,000 in the aggregate under our state's sovereign immunity statute.

Anonymous said...

@12:03: you're right that what the good Judge means is "safer" and that we are talking about acceptable levels of risk. What you're missing is that nothing, ever, will be "safe" and that every single thing in this life is about calculating acceptable levels of risk. Those calculations are sometimes personal (whether you will accept a case during the pandemic), and sometimes made by government officials for the collective (whether we will invade Europe to defeat the Nazis, or, on a smaller level, whether we will implement intrusive screening at the airport before the public can get on a flight).

The Judge has got it right here - if visiting a public building is something that you fear, then don't do it (don't like the airport body scan? Drive to NYC for that depo next week). Find a new job. Or sit it out a little longer if your means allow. In Rump's case, live on your vast gambling and investment fortune. For the rest of us, the constitution requires process, businesses require resolution to disputes, clients need lawyers, and I am willing to accept the risk to do the job.

And before Rumpole scolds/mocks me as a Herman Cain-esque COVID denier, I am no such thing. COVID is real. The deaths are real. And this is really our life now. I am permitted and prepared to make my own risk calculations. I wear a mask, I wash my hands, and I take reasonable recommended precautions. But, in the context of my life (which none of you is in a position to evaluate or comment on), it is NOT reasonable to remain locked down any longer. In fact, I have been out of lock down and conducting life and business again since June.

Fear of dying is no reason to stop living.

A last comment in anticipation of attacks on my comment that the constitution requires process. Our system is designed to guaranty freedom through process; not to guaranty safety. Those of you who would continue to deny process in the name of safety in the time of COVID are just another flavor and application of the old saying that those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither.

Anonymous said...

Rump youre a history buff and seem exhausted, but the Copernicus thing can't go uncorrected.

I believe the scientist you're looking for is Galileo. Copernicus's relationship with the Church was quite good, even if after his death the authorities distanced themselves from heliocentrism. (And remember, this wasn't some special religious inquisition. The ecclesial courts *were* the only courts of the day. Most of our own legal tradition comes from these institutions still.)

And for what it's worth, post-relativity, scientists today don't believe the earth revolves around a stationary sun either. We're all just floating, man, like covid droplets in a dusty courtroom.

Rumpole said...

You are 100% correct. Total brain freeze and even worse for me because I often use Galileo example in closing arguments. How could I have made that mistake?
I often argue that the best minds in the world knew the earth was the center of the universe until Galileo discovered otherwise. That the best minds NASA had knew the mirrors on the hubble were correct when they launched it until it got into space. Feel free to use those arguments.
Again total brain freeze. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Fake Rosy as always pure genius.

Phil Maniatty said...

Only one case will be tried the week of October 26th.

Anonymous said...

Juries love a Galileo reference

Rumpole said...

30 Jurors. two-four lawyers. One judge. One clerk. One court reporter. Corrections or security personnel. 45 people too many for a court room. Cut the jurors in half to 15- and you have 30 people too many in a courtroom where the windows do not open. Not safe. I would give up my bar card before I would risk my life. I can always drive uber or return to logging and farming.

Anonymous said...

Measure twice. Cut once. Don't try the case during covid.

Ancient Buddhist saying.

Anonymous said...

And Object all the time.

The Q

Anonymous said...

And always juice the guy on the way out not the way in at Joes.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Keller French Laundry overrated. Same for Shore Club.

Another ancient Buddhist saying.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Judge Faber doesn't want the honest truth to be disseminated to the public for fear of a "panic". Better the citizens of the county he serves convene in the Justice Building blissfully ignorant of fact and logic for the little trial experiment. Geez wasn't another elected official recently exposed for doing the same thing to the country?

Joe Klock said...

O.K. whether I agree with you politically or not, I know that you are not afraid to walk into a courtroom. You do your best work there. Much better than your leftwing philosophy.
It is clear to me that you are very worried about cranking up the courthouse and for reasons in which you fervantly and logically believe.
It seems to me that with all of the talent that we have in that building, we can figure out a way to mediate most of the cases, keeping only the most serious indefinitely on hold for trial. But, to do so, we need to figure out some type of system, like five person panels with one judge, one prosecutor, one defense lawyer, and maybe two private citizens, one of whom might be a medical professional depending on the case to listen to cases via zoom and see what we can work out. The fact of the matter is that the biggest bar to resolving cases the ridiculous sentencing ranges that we have. A five person panel would know the facts, know the defendant, know the sentences, and work out results that were fair.
Until we can work something out, as much as I hate to agree with you, I cannot. Joe Klock

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter. Until there is a vaccine, nothing is reopening, even in smaller versions. Look at Europe and Canada. They are already experiencing a second wave. And God knows they are smarter than we are.

Judge Faber, you may be done with coronavirus. But it aint done with you.

Anonymous said...

2:07, the issue I have with your thought is that it's hard to calculate my risk tolerance when I dont know what I'm up against and in large groups of people, I can't control the risk.
When I say I don't know what I'm up against, it's because this virus is new and unknown and it's invisible. I don't know who has it; I can't see it floating towards me.
Carriers don't have a mark on them.
I can decide whether I want to go on a roller coaster or go rock climbing. I can judge the risks.
I also know that I take a risk by driving on US-1 everyday. I accept that risk and I try to drive safely and wear my seatbelt. I look to see see if cars are coming before I proceed from a stop sign. Sure, accidents will still happen and I accept that. But I know what the risks are.
But in a large crowded room, with poor ventilation, and without truly knowing how far this virus can travel, how long it stays viable, what will happen to me and my family if I get sick, I'm not sure that I want to be with members of the general public who may or may not be taking the same precautions I am. People have gotten tired of dealing with this virus so many of them are not.
And even if they seem to be, what happens if soemone in the room sneezes?
I've seen people take off their mask to sneeze. Then what?
I understand the horrible economic and due process problems this has caused.
But I'm not willing to gamble my life, or those of others, to be in a crowded courtroom, or on a crowded escalator right now.
What good is freedom if I'm confined to a hospital room or dead?


Anonymous said...

I haven’t read the blog in months, but fake judge elect rosy aponte is pure genius. Thank you for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

That ASA whose Father owns half of downtown Chicago is wired at the Shore club. Non one else can get a good table there.

Fake Judge Elekt Aponte said...

As a kandidaite for judge, I fell I should way in on this debates.
Teknikaally, Robin Faber is only a lawyer for the Public Defensive's office, so he has no authority to tell enyone to do a yury trial.
I was researching the law this weekend on youtube and have none of you heard of federalism? No? Well let me explane it. Judge Bertilia Sotomayor is on the Supreme Kort, so she runs the shot because a federal judger always is higher than a state judge. so based on ferdalism, her word is final, unless she is appealed to the eleventh circuit federal court in Atlantic CIty, Georgia. Maybe judges Luck and Langosta will overrule her objection, but maybe not. I guess, like, we will have to see.
Hopefully this kleers up some cofusion.

Rosy "your colored judge" Aponte

Anonymous said...

Faber's post is outrageous.

Anonymous said...

I posted this yesterday, but Rumpole did not approve. I will post it again.

"What good is freedom if I'm confined to a hospital room or dead?" What shameful cowardice! The land of the free and the home of the brave, indeed.

And adding to the sentiment that I posted last night, the oft misused phrase "freedom isn't free" doesn't refer to the right wing's blood lust for killing brown people in West Asia. "Freedom isn't free" means that in order for us to maintain the liberties that we hold dear, we must sacrifice some level of domestic safety, security, and comfort. Due process cannot continue to be suspended seemingly indefinitely (and that's what waiting for an effective vaccine is). Trials must resume.

Mr./Ms. 5:49, you complain that I would have my point of view forced on you and that I would impose my risk calculations on you, but you just as cavalierly wish to thrust your fear on me. By insisting that the courts should remain closed because you are afraid, you jeopardize my liberties and the liberties of the society as a whole. I do not criticize you for not wanting to return to court. I simply say, if you don't want to return to court, then don't. Like Rumpole has offered to do, turn in your Bar card and go drive an Uber if that makes you feel safer. But get out of the way and let those of us willing to work the constitutional process do our jobs.

Also, Faber's post is spot on.

Anonymous said...

Judge Faber's post demonstrates a lack of judicial temperament. He needs to apologize.

Anonymous said...

Judge Faber, you may follow the "science", but your comments are disrespectful and your reasoning makes no sense. No, thank you, I am not exposing myself or my family to covid. And no, I will not withdraw from cases of my clients because you think i should follow your "science".

Anonymous said...

1:35 is 2:36 is 11:40 ... lame

Anonymous said...

As a 60+ year old attorney with a medical history that puts me at greater risk of death (and. who thankfully has saved a few dollars), an order to return to court may push me to retire. That would be unfortunate.

High Cholesterol Kid said...

Rump- Dr prescribed Rouvastatin. 10 mg. I trust you more than her. Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that as virulently as you object to trying criminal cases in REG, the civil bar insists that we move forward. Not only do they insist that we move forward, but advocate for doing so in the old-fashioned method of stacking up 30 trials and seeing what goes. Which would be tantamount to gross negligence and won’t happen. I can’t reconcile the conflict of views here. Maybe someone wise can explain it to me.

All of us — judges included — are nervous about subjecting lawyers, jurors, witnesses and ourselves to extended periods of time in old buildings rebreathing each other’s air. But if we send our kids to school and expect teachers to teach, if we go weekly to the grocery and expect cashiers and baggers to work, if we expect salons to cut hair and waiters to bring food, and doctors and nurses to care for us, how can we justify indefinitely shutting down jury trials, the gold standard protecting our constitutional democracy? In short, we cannot. There has to be an effort on our part to reintroduce jury trials in the safest manner we can administer.

And if you are truly willing to talk about ADR in criminal cases, that would be a constructive conversation. Let’s have it.

Rumpole said...

1:48 I would like to know a bit more. What are your numbers? HDL and LDL and if they have categorized the molecule size of your cholesterol. Also triglyceride number is super critical. If you're borderline and under 55 I would like to see you try niacin and red bean yeast. We have some time. If you're older and the numbers are above say 210 -220 total then you can go on the statin but make some lifestyle changes. Cutting out sugar (but no artificial sweeteners please) will lower the LDL and triglycerides and you will be half way home. Incorporate some good dietary fats- wild caught salmon, grass fed beef is best- avoid proteins that are grain raised like chicken and pork. Cod fish and halibut and sardines are also good. Sweet potatoes and salads.
If you give me more info I can tell you more. I would also recommend a baseline stress test AND a baseline cardiac calcium screening.
OK?

Rumpole said...

2:39 different issue entirely. The world could use less civil lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Asking Rump for medical advice is as smart as asking an Antifa member to babysit your kids ...

Anonymous said...

I practice civil and have heard no such thing. Do you have a link or reference?

I prefer the zoom motions, can do other things while I wait for 30 disputes over nonsense to be processed. And, I can oggle the hot guys in the hearing without them knowing it, and bonus, without the 50+ divorcees automatically assuming it is okay to ask me out because I chose a skirt over pants.

Rumpole said...

4:01 tell to me the difference between the lp(a) and APob test for cardiac issues if you can without googling smart guy.

Blonde PD said...

Props rump to nailing the SCOTUS pick A day before everyone else.