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

Monday, November 30, 2020

YOUR EMERGENCY IS NOT OUR EMERGENCY

First a final thought about Sally Weintraub, who passed away last week. We profess blindness to the issue of sexism in court and our legal community. Yet sexism exists and existed, as real and pervasive as racism. Perhaps we have failed in not recognizing  and giving credit to those women lawyers who broke glass ceilings and were heroes by doing nothing more than quietly going about their work in a professional manner. If you read the comments in the prior post about Sally Weintraub, what stands out is that she was that hero and role model to many young women entering the legal field. Such recognition is needed and well deserved. Ms. Weintraub served this community for 35 years, speaking up for victims, many of whom could no longer speak for themselves. But in retrospect, there was a different and just as important service Sally Weintraub performed in her career. Breaking a glass ceiling and being a major crimes prosecutor and top litigator in this community as a female lawyer. Whatever small part we have played in giving her that recognition, we are gratified that the community of women lawyers who had their careers shaped by Ms. Weintraub took the time to leave a comment. It makes this endeavor worthwhile.  

NON EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR DV MISDEMEANOR COURT

In our world, by definition, a misdemeanor is not an emergency. But then a Domestic Violence set of procedures for NON-EMERGENCY cases crossed our email, and being the devoted non-public servant, we thought perhaps we should post it. 



DV Non-Emergency Misdemeanor Motions Procedures by HR on Scribd

Saturday, November 28, 2020

SALLY WEINTRAUB HAS PASSED AWAY

 Sally Weintraub, a fixture in the Miami-Dade State Attorneys Office for over 35 years has passed away. She was known as hardworking, diligent, and as Abe Laeser noted on her remembrance page here, she never sought the fame of being a great lawyer. But a great lawyer she was, as noted by David Ovalle, who covered her retirement in the Miami Herald in 2014 when Ms. Weintraub was 85 years old:

Early in her storied legal career, Sally Weintraub represented three poor black students from Perrine arrested during racial unrest at their high school. The year was 1970.

A judge, then known as a justice of the peace, stood up and angrily ordered her out of his courtroom.

“It hit the national news,” Weintraub said. “I was representing blacks, and he was a good ol’ boy and you just didn’t do that.”

Unless you were Sally Weintraub. She appealed. And prevailed. More than four decades later, Weintraub would again find herself fighting for the voiceless, a murdered foster child named Rilya Wilson. The 4-year-old vanished while under state supervision, and her body has never been found.

After a grueling trial, a Miami-Dade judge last year sentenced Rilya’s Kendall caretaker, Geralyn Graham, to 55 years in prison.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a longtime advocate for reforming the state’s child welfare system, credits Weintraub’s tenacity for closing a difficult and emotional case.

“She was determined that she was not going to leave until she found justice for Rilya,” Wilson said. “Rilya had no relatives. She was a little foster child no one cared about. But Sally cared about her.”

Those cases bookend the long and accomplished career of a prosecutor who — at age 85 — has finally decided to retire after more than five decades practicing law in Florida.

Sally Weintraub was tough. She was tenacious. She prepared meticulously and she rarely lost. She mentored generations of young lawyers who passed through the State Attorneys Office. But she was also fair- which is one of the best things we can say about a prosecutor. She cared passionately about the victims whose cases she prosecuted, and she made Miami a better place to live. 

Judge Reemberto Diaz, who tried cases against her when he was a defense attorney called Ms. Weintraub "The Best of the Best" and that was the title for our blog post covering her retirement here. 

A life well lived that touched many others and made the world and our community a better place. May she rest in peace. 



Friday, November 27, 2020

THE HANGOVER

 It's Black Friday, In more ways than one. 

After an orgy of travel and large family gatherings, there will be a Covid price to pay in the coming weeks and months. Europe, hard hit by a second wave, watched in horror, as Americans, no followers of science we, rushed to travel and gather, because as we all know, the Bible guarantees the American right to watch football and eat turkey on a day of Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving. To give thanks for blessings. We wonder how many of us will be giving Thanks a month from now as Covid strikes those who ignored the warnings against travel and gatherings yesterday. The name of this holiday, at least for 2020, may well be one of history's great ironies. 

NO MORE EMAILS PLEASE

The day after Thanksgiving we are much more comfortable telling you what we can do without, rather than what we are thankful for. Let's start with the emails and texts from acquaintances  wishing us a happy Thanksgiving.  Our Thanksgiving was not hinging on getting that email from a court reporting firm wishing us a happy holiday. Or the email from the mediation group run by a bunch of retired judges who we had no use for when they were on the bench. Or the endless text messages from clients and people we barely know. Did we need a text from the woman who runs the copier and IT services in our office? NO.  Ditto the email from the Urology/Proctology group telling us to enjoy our holiday dinner. Just stop it. No cards. No emails. No texts. Eat your turkey and pie in peace and stop bothering us. Please. This is our normal misanthropic side, and maybe it needs more airtime. 

THE HANGOVER

We strike to give our readers some measure of comfort and consistency. We use the same font. We use the same nomenclature when describing the daily difficulties of a lawyer's life  in South Florida (Browierd). And we treat the pompous leaders with the same amount of Rumpolian disdain. Which is why we find ourselves having to apologize for the words we used in describing South Florida's judiciary in our annual Thanksgiving post. Loyal readers click this link for blog posts that provide a certain amount of comfort, especially when describing our robed readers. Our Thanksgiving post did not live up to those standards. We expect it will not happen again in this blogger's career. Mea Culpa. 😜

How can we end this Black Friday post on an up-note? Covid is running through the NFL. The Steelers-Ravens game is in serious jeopardy of being canceled after being delayed from Thanksgiving eve. 

There are no Thanksgiving Blockbuster movies to go to. It's hard not to start feeling a bit of the Covid-Holiday blues. 

And yet... Vaccines are arriving in South Florida within two weeks. 

And....the inauguration is 54 days away. 

Pick up Obama's first volume of his memoirs. It's not as good as US Grant's- but it is a good read.  

Go check your email and text messages. More than likely, you will not have one from us wishing you a happy day.  And for that you can give Thanks. 


Thursday, November 26, 2020

THANKSGIVING 2020

 At first blush a Thanksgiving 2020 message would appear to be a difficult missive to write.  The task this year is easier than it seems. 

Adversity brings gratitude into sharp focus. 

We are grateful that we live in a country that publicizes its faults. We learn through our collective errors. We do not hide nor shy from our mistakes. This is a good thing. 

We are thankful for our health. We have not been struck by the novel Corona virus and no one we care about has lost their life to this insidious virus. 

We are thankful that we have devoted much of our life to a legal system that in Miami-Dade County is superbly led. In Federal Court Judge Moore has done the correct thing and limited court hearings and suspended jury trials down until they can safely resume in April. Meanwhile hearings continue via Zoom, cases are filed via complaints, and many are speedily resolved. 

In State Court we have  indominable leaders in Judge Soto and Judge Sayfie in Criminal Court, Judge Bailey in Civil Court,  Judge Prescott in the Unified Children's Division, Judge Bernstein in Family Court, and Judge Colodny in Probate Court (wherever that is). These leaders have not only held our court system together, sometimes with nothing more than sheer will, but they have done it with grace, dignity, and an unyielding devotion to the simple belief that in the United States the rule of law matters. 

We are thankful and grateful that these dedicated men and women stepped into the dark maw of  Covid,  at unknown personal risk during those early months. They did whatever was necessary so that the citizens of Miami knew the rule of law continued unabated in a time of crisis. 

Judge Soto and her team had no playbook. There was no history or precedent on how to keep a court system up and running during a deadly pandemic. Our Judges succeeded, confident we are sure, only in their steadfast belief that failure was not an option. 

We have had our differences with those who wear black robes to work. And we cannot wait for the day when we have those differences again. When we walk into court and deal with a petulant, scowling, pompous judge. Only when that day in the near future occurs,  we will pause briefly and refrain momentarily from cursing  their obvious lack of legal knowledge should they fail to see things our way. In that blink of an eye we will remember the true character of these men and women and how they never quit and held the line when dawn was far away and all anyone could see was a dark and vile pandemic stretching over the horizon.  

And then, life having returned to normal, we will sneer at their misguided ruling, happy that we can again return to doing what we do best. 

We leave you, as we usually do on Thanksgiving, with the greatest four minutes in the history of Thanksgiving on Television: The Classic WKRP Turkey Drop episode. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

MORE BAD NEWS

 More bad news struck today. The email at 9:36 a.m., apparently official...The PDs Holiday party is officially CANCELED

 From Carlos Martinez: 

This was a tough call to make as we are reminded every day of how much personal contact we have lost during the past few months. I am personally disappointed that we will not be able to express our gratitude in person to you. But we need to prioritize everyone's health and safety.

Well done Mr. Martinez. This is what leaders do. They make tough and unpopular decisions regardless of the political consequences.  

Bear (and bare) with us as we reminisce a bit. 

It used to be the party of the year. We are not talking about the teens or the 00's or the 90s. But the late 70's and early 80's. Those were PD parties with a capital P that rhymes with pool and the party was cool. 

Intoxicating substances, some of which the possession of which violated certain sections of chapter 893, flowed freely. Court reporters dressed to (and some undressed) to impress. It was a time and a place that depending on the evening and the company, you could - and we are stealing a Woody Allen joke from Annie Hall- do to a judge or a prosecutor what they did to your client in court. (See the clip below). 

Alcohol was consumed and inhibitions were left at the door. It was Miami's own piece of Vegas for a Friday night/Saturday morning- what happened at the PD party stayed at the PD party. 

Yes, those were the days. And now, sigh, we stay isolated, contacting the world digitally via Zoom and Facetime and texting. The Chateauneuf de Pape (try and get 2005,2006, 2007, 2009 or 2010) is consumed alone, with maybe some KC and the Sunshine Band playing softly in the background. 

But Mr. Martinez is right. Better safe than sorry. Reports are that 20 million Americans could be infected with the virus before the end of the year. A vaccine is on the horizon and we will have a bang-up blow-out party next year, and maybe, just maybe, Rumpole will do something he hasn't done since we had a President whose middle name was Jefferson- attend the PD party. 

Until then, we raise a glass of wine to those days when life was carefree and the only virus that was deadly was transmitted when the parties were in pari delicto nec revelabis turpitudinem.

COMING UP: What Rumpole is Thankful for. (And shockingly, more than one judge made the list!). 


The Joke we are referencing starts at 2:18 in the clip. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Boca Ban Ban Banned

 Props to DOM who is all over this at his blog /podcast launch base. 

Boca Raton banned Gay conversion therapy. The district court upheld it. The 11th Circuit struck it down 2-1. Boca can now convert homosexuals to heterosexuals. Yippee! And they can do it without wearing masks. 

Are you as sick as we are over the bent of the judiciary? Make no mistake- this is NOT conservatism; laissez  faire capitalism and the market place deciding outcomes. This is religious jurisprudence, pure and simple. What the idiots who are Republicans THINK is conservatism but wouldn't know a conservative if they tripped over William F Buckley's grave while reading Atlas Shrugged, is nothing more than their side of the collectivist coin. 

So because the 11th Circuit is in this kind of mood, we suggest they approve some more types of conversion therapies:

First- Convert Jews to Christianity. This is after all a Christian nation, right?  

Second- Convert Democrats into Republicans. No more messy elections. 

Convert godless vegetarians into meat eaters. Down with Castro and communism. 

Convert poetry readers into action film junkies. Convert lovers of classical music into metalheads. 

And finally, convert bloggers into street sweepers where they can serve society. 

Pardon us while we go vomit after reading the opinion. 


Sunday, November 22, 2020

NFL WEEK 11 2020 OVER EDITION

 Welcome to our insightful NFL and social analysis. This is the OVER edition. 

OVER 195,000 of your fellow citizens got Covid on Friday. 

OVER 1,450 Americans died of Covid on Friday. To put that in perspective, that's more American deaths every 35 days than died in the Vietnam war. For those millennials and robed readers who only have a vague idea of what the Vietnam war was, please stop reading our blog and head on over to Mr. Markus's blog where he may soon have a Podcast on the best ways to skip the lines at Disney and Universal, there are videos of Texas judges singing and dancing, and you may pick up tips on how to get the most likes on Postagram or whatever that social media platform is called. 

Before we head into our award winning picks and NFL analysis,  we alert you that we are closely monitoring the Trump campaign and their lawyers dark warnings that an international communist conspiracy from Venezuela and Cuba stole the presidential election. Yes Venezuela and Cuba, countries which cannot feed their citizens, have the technological ability to defeat American technology. SEE BELOW

Packers at Colts. Indy has limited opposing QBs to a 78.9 passer rating. They have eleven picks. Indy has a D and we cannot pick the OVER 51. In fact we are going the other way. 

Chiefs at Raiders. KC is looking to avenge their only loss of the season.  Las Vegas has some game of their own on offense. OVER 56.5 - noting that the score of their last game was 40-32 KC. 

NE Cheaters at Houston. Nothing to like here from either team. The evil genius has somehow gotten his team into contention with a 4-5 record. The Texans stink but their QB can chuck it. OVER 48. 

Miami Dolphins at Denver. Have you hopped on the Fins Bandwagon? We have.  The Dolphins are -3 on the road in Denver, It will be cold. It may be nasty. But hey- we're Floridians-  we're tough- we don't even have to wear masks during a pandemic while getting a tattoo in  the bar of your local Don Carter bowling alley. Miami -3. 


SURVIVOR POOL 

Mr Markus- Vikes; Feiler- Chargers; Tischler- PASS (well played). 


This is a great diet aide. We lost our appetite after watching this. But never fear, it returned and we had some wonderful smoked wild hog jowls for breakfast this morning (apologies to Dan Lurvey and his pet porker). 



Coming Next Week: Giving Thanks during a pandemic; Biden's first cabinet picks to be announced Tuesday (we are not on the short list);  Sydney Powell accuses Lichtenstein of bullying America, Texas threatens Pennsylvania over elections results,  and more!

AND FINALLY, we remember this tragic day.  57 years ago today the trajectory of America and the arc of history and morality was bent for the worse. 


A few years ago your blogger went to Dallas and conducted his own thorough investigation.
Our expert conclusion: Oswald acted alone.




Saturday, November 21, 2020

WHO IS ZOOMING

 Give credit where credit is due. Miami-Dade, land of the Trump voter, has a court system that responded quickly to covid-19 and instituted a full Zoom system. Lawyers now awake, pad into their home office, log on and Zoom their morning away. Count us as someone who will advocate for a hybrid in-person-Zoom system when everyone gets the Pfizer vaccine. Zoom reduces congestion in the court house, lowers carbon emissions, keeps traffic down, and allows clients to appear in court without wasting an entire morning. 

Broweird appears to be Zooming. Ditto Hillsborough County, which is accommodating your blogger on a pretty serious case. 

Go on the Monroe County court website and this is how much Zoom information is available_______________________. Zero. None. Nada. Appears it is easier to get a pina colada on Duval street then a Zoom link in the Conch Republic. 

So what can our readers report about  the availability of Zoom hearings in Florida in other counties? 

The following is an accurate recitation of a conversation Rumpole had with a Judicial Assistant in August 2020: 

Rumpole: I am calling to get the Zoom link for the upcoming status conference next week.

JA: What's that? 

Rumpole: Zoom or the link?

JA: Either. 

Rumpole: Is your courthouse open? Are you doing in person hearings?

JA: Sure we are. 

Rumpole: The website for this circuit says the courthouse is closed because of Covid. Have you heard of Covid?

JA: Yes. This judge doesn't believe in it. He requires people to attend court. 

Rumpole: I see. Well one way to deal with a life threatening pandemic is to ignore itWould it matter to the Judge I am a continent away in Europe and I cannot secure a ten hour flight for a five minute hearing? 

JA: No

Rumpole: What a wonderful group of public servants you are. Have a nice a day. Click. 

We then called the prosecutor and counsel for the co-defendant who both told us the JA and Judge want to open court and the Chief Judge will not allow them to do so and to submit a motion and order requesting to appear electronically. We then asked why the JA is telling people to come to court. Both told us the Judge was trying to get people to show up at the courthouse so that he could convince the chief judge to allow him to open court. 

We submitted the motion and order and received an order with a Zoom link. We then asked the Judge at the hearing if he was aware his assistant denied knowledge of what Zoom was. The Judge waved us off, denied a motion to continue from both sides and ordered trial for the following week. That Friday we received an order continuing the trial that was set for Monday because of "an apparent lack of jurors." 

This folks, is your Florida judiciary at work.  The most surprising part of this horror story is that the learned judge is NOT located in Broward. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

ELECTION FRAUD WE HAVE THE PROOF

 We are social and legal commentators. We leave the investigative journalism to the lower paid minions who skulk in back alleys late at night, standing surreptitiously in doorways, hidden by fog, notebook and pencil stub and camera with telephoto lens at the ready.  (Let's see Mr. Markus write an opening line that paints such a vivid picture. Podcast schmodcast). 

But at times we do don our Deerstalker hat 


(the kind Sherlock Holmes wore), pull out our magnifying glass, and uncover clues. And we have done it again, selflessly, altruistically (and possibly because we are bored in our self-imposed quarantine). 

And now we present to you the stunning and sad results of our investigation which yields but one result even for the dimmest of the robed readers amongst us: ELECTION FRAUD! 

The results were suspicious. The winner an upstart and an upset. Feathers were ruffled and conspiracy theories took flight. 1,500 votes arrived electronically from one IP address. 

The contest was the annual Bird of the Year run by New Zealand's Forrest & Bird. The clear front runner was New Zealand's Antipodean Albatross, which is colloquially known as the Toroa.  The upstart was a fat endangered flightless Parrot called a Kakapo and a Kiwi Pukupuku. 


Networks broke into news coverage to report the potential fraud and stunning upset:



The Toroa was in the lead all along ala Thomas Dewey in 1948. Then Truman-like, the Kakapo pulled the election out at the last moments. Feathers were ruffled. Charges arose like flights of fancy. The rules allowed one vote per email account. And at the last minute 1,500 votes arrived from the same email address in Auckland.  Russian influence was speculated similar to the infamous 2019 Bird of the Year vote where Russian influence was reported by the Washington Post. The respected firm of Forrest & Bird ran the election and warned on their website that if fake votes were submitted "we will find you and be disappointed." 

Careful statistical analysis showed suspicious voting for the chunky flightless Parrot who is also known as the Little Spotted Kiwi: 


Candidates took to Twitter ala you know who- to campaign.

@team_kakapo announced their win. Twitter tagged the tweet with it's recognizable warning 

that the tweet about the election results were in dispute.

The Antipodean Albatross initially disputed the election results as "fake news"

The Toroa campaign would like to deny this fake news. We have conceded to and are prepared to whoop the moss chicken's butt for next year's #BirdOfTheYear election. #SeabirdsNotTreeBirds #NZBirdPol
. should have won #BirdOfTheYear. ⓘ 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗺 𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗱


 Upon being informed of the stunning loss, the Toroa tweeted a short concession speech, and then also like you know who-vowed to run in 2021. 

We are monitoring these results and political flights and fights hourly. You might say we have a "birddog" determination to follow this wherever there are ruffled feathers. You can count on us more than Forrest & Bird can count votes. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION

 Ohhhhmmmmmm......close your eyes.....let the world go...go down....deeper....deeper. 

Oh wait- that is MEDITATION and we are writing about MEDIATION. 

Very quietly last week a pilot criminal mediation project went into effect. Four cases were sent to Retired Judge and apparently Super-Mediator Stanford Blake, whose health appears to be just fine we are pleased to report. 

And the results of this frangipani experiment were that.....(drum roll please....) ALL FOUR CASES WERE SETTLED! TA DA!

Well fry us in butter and call us a Catfish! Mediation. In criminal court! Who woulda thunk it?

Put us firmly in the NO category about this unsavory experiment in jurisprudence. If this gets out, the next thing that will happen is that more cases will settle and no one will need criminal trial lawyers and we don't remember anything from law school about how to write a will or do a closing. Trying criminal cases is all we know how to do. (That and writing superb blog pieces, but there is only money in trying criminal cases). 

So no sir, settling cases with mediation is not something we like. Not one bit. 

Now excuse as as we have to finish an appellate brief on our IBM Selectric. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

BROWARD DOES IT AGAIN PAYOFFS IN NFL CASE YIELD ARREST OF LAWYER

 There is a new twist in the Broward State Attorneys' prosecution of NFL player Deandre Baker- a former first round pick of the New York Football Giants. 

The Broweird SAO- which NEVER drops any case, even against an innocent defendant, ended the prosecution against Deandre Baker because the three complaining witnesses signed identical affidavits in which they said they did not see anything and that it did not matter because they were not robbed. 

Their lawyer however- one William "Bill" Dean WAS ARRESTED and charged with extortion. BSO has released a statement alleging that Dean told Baker to pay his clients $266,000.00 each and that their stories would change and that they would stop speaking with the prosecution. 

This is also the SECOND accusation of witnesses being paid off in this complicated case. originally a second NFL player had been arrested in the case- Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Quinton Dunbar. However Dunbar's case was dismissed in connection with a video showing witnesses being paid off in Dubar's attorney's offices. 

QUERY: when did paying off witnesses become the norm in criminal defense? What about depos and motions? Or are we helplessly old fashioned? 

So to recap- defendant's case dismissed. Lawyer for complaining witnesses arrested.  It's Broward. Anything can happen....and usually does. 

MONDAY MODERNA GOOD NEWS

 Good Monday morning. It's the middle of November and a Cat 5 hurricane is exploding in the Caribbean- not that global warming is real or anything. The virus numbers in the US are waaaaay up and we will try and find some good news. 

First, your Miami Dolphins won convincingly on Sunday, continuing their streak to 5-0.  The Bills lost, and the Dolphins are in the hunt for a playoff spot. 

Second, Moderna, which uses the same virus platform as Pfizer, reported their interim phase three results and like Pfizer's, they were outstanding. Only five people of the 30,000 who were in the study, who received the vaccine, tested positive for Covid-19. That's a better protection rate than the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine can be kept in a refrigerator for thirty days, which is better than the Pfizer vaccine which needs to be stored at -80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Moderna will have 20 million vaccines available by the end of 2020, enough to inoculate 10 million people, as like Pfizer's vaccine, the vaccine is administered in a two-dose therapy. 

Meanwhile we face a dark winter before spring and summer. Close to two hundred thousand Americans are getting Covid-19 every day. Remember when 50,000 a day was frightening? And people are dying at an alarming rate. Hospitals in Texas, Arizona, Ohio, and Tennessee are at or near capacity. The Dakotas are overwhelmed. This it NOT the flu, and Covid19 kills young and old alike. Meanwhile Florida allows people to congregate in bars and restaurants and Florida judges are pushing to try cases. It is insane. Count us in as someone who will REFUSE to attend court in person until we receive the vaccine. Period. 

For those few of you who do not follow us on Twitter @Justicebuilding, you missed our tweet this weekend. It is rare that we make specific reference to an individual. We tend to think big picture. But we are aware of one person who typifies the problems all of us are facing. He contracted Covid19. He subsequently was informed that he will be fired in January, and simultaneously will be losing his place of residence for the last four years. Send him you best thoughts and wishes. 

His name is Donald J. Trump. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

NFL WEEK TEN 2020

 If you have seen infrequent blog contributor Scott Saul's paen to Attorney Greg Gonzalez and his work for veterans, posted yesterday, scroll down and check it out. 

 A "Trump Like" refusal to lose or concede is the only phrase that comes to mind as we watch Messrs. Markus, Feiler, and Tischler take their battle in the survivor pool into week ten. This week they all are rolling with the Packers. As the rules require, someone has to WIN the pool. If the Pack lose today, they all survive and roll on.  

If you are like us, then you were up early getting in your exercise so you could watch the final round of the first Masters ever held in November. As we write this Dustin Johnson's lead is down to one. We love this golf tourney. 

NFL Picks: 

Best game of the week is Buffalo at Arizona. Return to the mean for both teams. The Bills beat up the Seahawks last week while the Cards fell in a shoot-out with your amazing Miami Dolphins. Arizona at home -1 for us please. Bills aren't a powerhouse and Cards are better than they looked last week. Over 56 for us as well here. 

Chargers at Miami. That sound you heard was us jumping on the Dolphins bandwagon. We had them in the playoffs next year, but this year is looking promising. Take the hometown Flippers over the snake-bit Chargers who find news ways every week to lose. Miami -2.5.  Over 48 as well. 

COMMING MONDAY: GROUNDHOG DAY. Same old Rumpole making the same warnings and complaints about courts not recognizing just how dangerous this covid-19 virus is. So if you do not want to read the same old stuff, albeit with new and worsening numbers, click on over to Mr. Markus's blog where we are sure he will be having a scintillating discussion on the evolution of the Eleventh Circuit's local rules or something like that. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR FELLOW LAWYER HAS BEEN DOING ?

 

There is a distinct hero walking among us. Everybody knows of him, but you may not know about him since he pretty much keeps his altruism on the hush-hush. At the Miami criminal courthouse, he is out and about and everywhere yet, in certain regards, he keeps a low profile. This attorney applies his unique experience as a military veteran and criminal lawyer, along with his distinguishable Bronx upbringing, to bring a unique solace to certain people that very much need it. I am referring to Mr. Gregory A. Gonzalez, everybody’s buddy, but do you know how much of an angel, a mensch, and a savior he can be?

Greg is  dedicated to the welfare of military veterans that come through the Miami criminal justice system.  I am not just talking about representing their legal interests for Greg goes well beyond that. You see, Greg befriends, guides, comforts, feeds, transports, and acts as a guardian angel to many of these veterans, even if he doesn’t represent them. Greg doesn’t do this to stack his resume, he does it because of extreme empathy, he knows he can help, actually understands how to help and follows through with these veterans in order to try to insure their welfare. Many of Greg’s virtues are in the open; he is affable, the high quality of his lawyering is obvious, and it is common to see him in the cafeteria buying veterans meals …and compassionately listening.

But it wasn’t until I had a recent foray in Veterans court that I saw the incredible commitment that Greg has. My client, a combat veteran, absconded from his Miami-Dade residential program. As a consequence, he was picked up in Collier county and held without bond.  The honorable Marissa Tinkler-Mendez, the presiding judge for veteran’s court (who also deserves accolades for her notable work with veterans),  was going to allow my client to be released however, he first needed to be transported back to Miami. During these COVID times, transportation from one jail to another is easier said than done…many are simply not moving the inmates around…like in this situation.  So, it became quite clear that if I did not take responsibility for the transportation, then the client would never be moved.  I arranged for my client to be released to me so that I could drive him across the State with the expectation that the client had to be admitted back into his Miami program on the same date.  Since Greg is involved in every Veteran’s Court calendar call, when he heard about what was going on, he volunteered to pick up the client and transport him. But Greg wanted to do so much more; he drove out there before the sun rose, picked up my client, fed him, and spent time really listening to him. Greg took my client back to his program, went inside, talked with the staff and observed exactly what the client was going through. Most importantly, Greg created a lasting bond as an essential mentor to my client.

If you have never served in the military, and particularly during combat times, it is impossible to relate or even understand what a veteran may be going through… but Greg sure does. Since being transported back here, my client has had some hiccups of apprehension and instability, but he wisely reaches out to Greg for existential advice.  When my client reaches out for help, Greg often responds in person to help this man through his difficulties.  Greg is a guardian angel to my client yet, my commonsense surmises that this degree of altruism is probably not just limited to my client.

Since Greg is quite selfless in his dedication, he doesn’t want this post to just focus on him.  There are other dedicated mentors, and this is what they do.  There is always a need for more mentors to get involved. 

Many of us try to give back to the community through pro bono work, volunteering, charity involvement, etc. Greg’s actions are, unequivocally, helping others yet he also may be saving some lives. Don’t just judge some of these lawyers by verdicts, how ornate their office is or other material reflections for there is more to life.   With Greg making himself continuously available to rescue these veterans where they don’t know where else to turn, his actions qualify for him to be in the pantheons of the South Florida criminal justice system.