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.

Friday, December 31, 2021

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

 Here are our New Year's Resolutions:

1) Speak out over and over against minimum mandatory sentences. This case, in which a trucker's brakes failed and he was prosecuted and somehow convicted because he passed by a runaway truck ramp and struck and killed four people is the latest and blatant example of the horror of minimum mandatory sentences.  The Min mans in Colorado required a 110-year sentence, which he received. Yes, you read that correctly. One hundred and ten years.  The State of Colorado and the prosecutors and judges all agreed that a sentence that ended in 2131 was correct. Thankfully Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D-Rational) commuted his sentence to ten years with release eligible after five. The article is here. 

2) Drink more black coffee. It can save your life. It reduces inflammation which in turn reduces heart disease and cancer. The article is here. 

3) Try more cases in other federal districts. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. 

4) Buy more crypto (at the right moment). 

5) Pilates? Maybe. 

6) Answer emails quicker. Nothing worse than a jammed email inbox. 

7) Read more classics. They are classics for a reason. 

8) Be nicer to prosecutors. Supposedly you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. 

9) Be nicer to Judges ... ok, just kidding. Eat more fish is more realistic. 

10) Remain anonymous (yawn). 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2022 MOTTO

 Our motto for the new year is ....

Think Positive ... and 

TEST NEGATIVE

Tada! 

Some semi-random end-of-year thoughts...

Your Miami Dolphins are playoff-bound if they win their last two games. Miami has become the first NFL team to ever lose seven straight games in a season and win seven straight games. Like last year, this team showed no quit in the face of adversity. They will not make the super bowl this year, but they are close to being a team that can deep in the playoffs. One or two good rookies, a veteran pickup at RB and O line, and this is a team to be reckoned with. 

Jury trials should not commence next week. You know why. 

Where is the Florida Supreme Court on Omicron? The world wonders. 

If we were president...

1) we would require a national vaccine passport.  Why should Bill Gates be the only one able to track the vaccinated? Vaccines would be needed for  i) travel; ii) work; iii) social interactions (e.g., bars, restaurants, plays, movies, concerts, sporting events); vaccines would not be needed to stay home and wrap aluminum foil around your head to prevent Dr. Fauci from reading your mind. 

2) Hospital care, when limited would be apportioned by vaccine status. The unvaccinated would be last on triage lists. Making the rest of us sick and allowing the virus to mutate should have consequences to your own personal health. Go kill yourself if you wish, although we are not advocating suicide. However, do not drag us down with you when you're drowning. 

3) Confront Putin on Ukraine. Putin doesn't understand anything but power and powerful acts. We would send several brigades to Ukraine. BTW, China is watching what we do with Putin.  The single most significant event in how the Soviets viewed Ronald Reagan was when, as president, he fired all the air traffic controllers who went on strike. The bold move caught the eye of the Kremlin. KGB analysts confirmed decades later that when Reagan fired the controllers, they wrote papers explaining why Reagan was unlike his predecessors in doing exactly what he said he was going to do. This caused great concern in the Kremlin.   Putin is carefully watching Biden to see if he will back up his rhetoric. 

4) The same rules that apply to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Kwanza and Hannukah apply to the new year: Nobody wants your "Happy New Year" email clogging up their inboxes. We can all do without your self-promotion. Save it for Instagram and Snapchat. 

The strategy of impeaching Ghislaine Maxwell's accusers, and questioning their motives and memory is being criticized in light of her conviction. What other strategy was available?  It is entirely possible Maxwell was a victim as well, and in light of Epstein's death, she was the only available target by the DOJ, who previously had given Epstein a pass on his behavior.  Thoughts? 

Remember, State Court in Miami is CLOSED Friday. Cerrado. No entry. No Zoom. NADA. 



Wednesday, December 29, 2021

COURTS CLOSED NEW YEARS EVE DAY

 This breaking news, catching many in Miami by surprise, is that the brain trust of our State Court system has gotten together, and after much discussion and debate, MIAMI STATE COURTS ARE CLOSED FRIDAY DECEMBER 31, 2021. For the four or five of you that had cases and motions and important business scheduled for Friday, you are, to use a legal term, SOL. The first word being the "S word" and the last word being "Luck".  As Covid has taught you, struggle on with your valiant efforts. Courts will re-open and there will be a dawn to the darkness of a cold and lonely courthouse on Friday. As Victor Hugo wrote, even the darkest night is followed by a dawn. 

What to do with this new-found free time? Head on over to DOM's federal blog and join the debate about the trial tax. He has posted a great article and in the comments some clueless civil lawyer who spends his/her days fretting over interrogatories and motions to compel production has written some nonsense that is just waiting to be smacked down. Have at it. 

We are NOT closed on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. 

The fight for truth and justice never sleeps, never takes a day off, and is never closed. Neither is the Blog.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDGE

 Want to wish your favourite federal judge happy birthday? Be careful. Caveat birthday wisher. You could be sued. 

The Daniel Anderl Judicial Privacy and Security Act could give rise to a civil cause of action if you post happy birthday wishes to your favourite federal judge, or otherwise post any personal data about a member of the federal judiciary or other federal government employee. The act is named for the son of Federal Judge Esther Salas. Her son was killed at her home at an attack aimed at her. 

From the act: 

5) On Sunday July 19, 2020, an assailant went to the home of Esther Salas, a judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, impersonating a package delivery driver, opening fire upon arrival, and killing Daniel Anderl, the 20-year-old only son of Judge Salas, and seriously wounding Mark Anderl, her husband.

(1) IN GENERAL.—An at-risk individual or their immediate family whose covered information is made public as a result of a violation of this Act may bring an action seeking injunctive or declaratory relief in any court of competent jurisdiction. If the court grants injunctive or declaratory relief, the person, business, or association responsible for the violation shall be required to pay the costs and reasonable attorney’s fees of the at-risk individual or immediate family, as applicable.

The safety of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and all public officials is a serious matter especially in this day and age of the spread of false information and the encouragement of violent actions through the internet. The same groups that caused the insurrection at the Capital can easily threaten the lives of a prosecutor or federal judge they don't like. Not to mention threats against those who patronize pizza shops that traffic in minor children, or bloggers who run blogs (the early history of this blog is rife with attacks on us from local lunatics, including at least one now disbarred lawyer. Success breeds contempt, and in our case, Bar complaints.) 

In running this blog, we are frequently confronted with messages (most likely from disgruntled litigants) attacking judges and their decisions and calling for harm to the judge. Of course, we do not publish such calumny.  But the disturbing trend is that we receive more and more of these putative attempts to publish calls for attacks on a judge or prosecutor every year. Even an innocuous "happy birthday" message to a judge may put into the public more personal information than the judge feels comfortable with. For example, the Sovereign Citizens movement has been known to cloud the titles of the property judges own. 

Here's an article about a brawl in a courtroom, including the judge who apparently landed some punches.  Granted its Texas, but still, there seems to be less respect for decency in our court system. This comes, in part, from the disrespectful comments our idiot last president made about the judges who ruled against him. 

In our community we have avoided such tragedies. But that does not mean it could not happen here. Security requires eternal vigilance. All it takes is one mistake. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

POST XMAS COVID

 Good Monday morning. Congrats again to Clay Kaeiser who won the world famous REGJB Blog Survivor Pool. Look for the lawyer wearing the "I won the Blog Survivor Pool 2021 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". Runner up Retired Judge Jon Colby was betrayed by the Chargers who got trounced by the lowly Texans. Yesterday we won 2 of 3 picks, and more importantly, after just squeaking into the REGJB Fantasy Football playoffs in the last slot, we upset the number three seed and advance to the semi finals along with Judge De La O, and top seed Born Tua Be Wild and second seed Norwood's Revenge. We have one standout player- WR Cooper Kupp who has carried us all year. But in the playoffs, anything can happen. 

If you get the emails from the SAO then you know yesterday they decided to alert everyone that they had SEVEN more employees test positive for covid the prior week and decided to tell us all the places their employees had been in the following week, including Whole Foods, a few dive bars in Hialeah, a crypto-mining emporium, Gulfstream racetrack (Not Guilty in the Fifth), and various houses of worship. 

Where is the leadership here? Why aren't SAO and PD employees required to wear masks?  Or is the SAO all of the sudden concerned with individual rights that don't concern the Fourth Amendment, which they trample without a Second Amendment thought. 

This is why Judges must require all people in their courtrooms to wear masks, because the "leadership" of those two offices are too busy counting pens and paperclips. Especially since the Miami-Dade Jury Trial task force recommended suspending jury trials until Mid-January but the Florida Supreme Court will not issue the order (there is apparently spotty internet in Aspen). 

You think our New Year's resolution was to become kinder and gentler? Think again. We are riled up to mix it up in 2022. Bring a little Alex Michaels to the blog- what do you think about them apples? 

Get vaccinated. Get boosted -in Israel they are testing a fourth booster. Wear a mask. Avoid Venezuelan made voting machines with Chinese Spyware.  Stay safe. 

HR

Sunday, December 26, 2021

NFL WEEK 16 2021 BOXING DAY EDITION

UPDATE: NO FEET OF CLAY

Your 2021 winner of the world famous REGJB Survivor league is none other than....

CLAY KAEISER! Yes the same Clay Kaeiser who year after year picks your Miami Dolphins as the first pick in the pool every year. Many years he goes out on week one. But this year, with the Dolphins win over the Cheaters on week one, Clay showed his stuff, navigating a tough year and an even tougher last few weeks as covid changed the complex calculations for each team. 

Second place goes to Retired Judge Jon Colby, who went out on an upset as his San Diego  LA  Chargers let him down, and were upset by the Texans.  

Well played gentlemen. Well played indeed. 

Good Boxing to everyone! We have some football games today as the longest season in NFL history winds down. 

But first our two survivors fight on - picking games and winning. 

Clay Kaeiser takes The Eagles  on the road against the NY Football Giants, and Jon Colby takes the Chargers at Houstonformally of San Diego and now ensconced in LA. We could have a winner today! 

We won with the Bengals last week and we are doubling down on them this week. They are at home against the Ravens and Baltimore is hobbled by injuries including their starting QB. Bengals -2.5. 

Rams -3 at Vikes. We hate going against a home dog, but we think LAs defense will give Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins fits and as Cousins goes, so goes the Vikes. Rams -3. 

Jags at Jets. The game of the week, maybe the season. Jax is 2-12 and NY is 3-11. This is the game we have been dreaming about.  First, we like the under 43.5 and we also like the J..E..T...S -2.5. 

Your Miami Dolphins are on MNF and are riding a seven-game win streak. We don't think the Fins are going to beat the Saints but we love the over 39.5. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

        FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF                        DAVID, A SAVIOUR WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD. 

        AND THIS SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO YOU. YE SHALL FIND                THE BABE WRAPPED IN SWADLING CLOTHES LYING IN            A MANGER. 

LUKE 2;1 

MERRY CHRISTMA


Friday, December 24, 2021

MASK UP 2.0

 Now you see them; now you don't. First you don't need to wear them; then you do; then you don't; now you have to wear them again when you enter the courthouse. Thank you, Omicron. 

On Thursday Chief Judge Sayfie issued the order- if you enter a Miami-Dade Courthouse you have to wear a mask.

Why Thursday? It's complicated. 

Who do you think owns the REGJB? The rumored shadowy Japanese real estate conglomerate that went on a spending spree in the bubble 1980s and bought Rockerfeller Center is not the owner of the REGJB despite QAnon hinting otherwise. Neither is the Trilateral Commission or Venezuela - the country that makes all the US voting machines. 

Nope, good old Miami-Dade County owns our courthouses which means the Mayor can issue orders about entering county owned buildings. And when Miami Dade Mayor Cava issued the mask order this week, Judge Sayfie quickly followed. 

On Thursday the hard-working Miami Jury Trial Task Force (yes there really is such a thing. They Zoom weekly and have some top doctors donating their time advising Miami judges and lawyers) recommended that jury trials be suspended until mid-January. But since the Florida Supreme Court (Motto: "Ignoring precedent and medical advice since 2018")  has not approved such a measure, Judge Sayfie cannot issue such an order, no matter how many lives it would save.  Gotta follow the Florida Supreme Court don-cha-know. Of course, in silly matters like, say, the death penalty, the Florida Supreme Court doesn't follow the Floirida Supreme Court. But why get bogged down in details when talking about a vicious virus that kills people? 

So on this Christmas Eve, some sense of reason has returned as we battle this deadly endemic. 

We wish you peace, health, and happiness as this year ends. Make reading the blog daily part of your New Year's resolutions, as we will make writing the blog daily one of ours. 

Happy Christmas one and all. *


*In England, we say "Happy Christmas" not Merry Christmas. 


Thursday, December 23, 2021

COVID POSITIVE WEB PAGE FOR COURT

 What do you do when the number of people who are covid positive who have been in the courthouse is rising exponentially, and you do not have the ability to send an email every ten minutes alerting everyone to another twenty something maskless ASA who tested positive for covid? 

You set up a webpage! 

Introducing...the Eleventh Judicial Circuit's Covid 19 self monitoring web page! Ta da! 

Just go on the webpage and see that pretty much the only place a covid positive person has not been in the REGIB in the last few days is in a janitor's closet on nine- and that's only because the cleaning person tested positive last week and hasn't been in work since. 

Because pretty much every place has had someone who tested positive for covid, we suggest that the media advisory people now do the opposite and send emails alerting people where it is safe to go. 

"The Dade County Courthouse law library has not had anyone who has tested positive for covid in the last week. It is safe to go there, particularly the section reserved for judicial research." 

Is December 23 Christmas eve eve? 

Is December 29 New Years eve eve?

How do you throw out a garbage can? 

When we aren't dealing with weighty legal problems, these are the issues that we tackle. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

HOLIDAY THOUGHTS

 Good 12/22/2021 blog readers. We are already making plans for next year's post on 12/22/2022. You know how we love numbers.

Here are some random thoughts as we approach the end of the year. 

Have you parked at MIA recently and then tried to leave with the parking ticket? Every single credit card machine doesn't work. Try getting an attendant at 2 am to take your payment and let you out. For a world class tourist destination, this is a disgrace. 

The REGJB has been mostly shut down for close to two years. Do you think they can fix the damn escalators? 

We espied some cushions for benches in one courtroom. Is that going to be a "thing" now?

If we were President we would issue an executive order for vaccine passports. Want to fly, eat out, go watch the Dolphins? Get vaccinated and show proof. Don't like it? Impeach me. Lincoln unconstitutionally suspended habeas corpus to save the Union. We would just be saving the world.

Ditto if we were a (lord forbid) a Judge. Want to enter our courtroom? Wear a mask and show a vaccine card. Don't like it? File a JQC complaint.  We are not going to let some 20-something prosecutor who isn't wearing a mask and feels invincible because defense attorneys roll over every time they say "victim wants max" infect our staff. Grow up and put on a mask. Although since the latest count is over 30! ASAs down with covid, there soon  might not be anyone in court to yell at. 

The Dolphins have a great coach. Brian Flores should be kept around for a long time, ala Mike Tomlin. 

Culture is under assault when the American Public is only interested in seeing Marvel Comic movies. When we were in London before Covid (sigh) and walked out at the end of Hamlet, we eavesdropped on several teenagers hotly debating the staging of the play versus other versions they had seen. There is a better chance of us winning the lottery two weeks in a row than overhearing such a conversation in Miami.  For those of you in Miami, Hamlet is a play written by William Shakespeare. If you want to know more, email us. 

It is time to bring back federal air marshals and have them enforce mask mandates on flights. Flight attendants are not equipped to enforce the law against morons who are attacking them at alarming rates. 

NYPD just passed a rule requiring them to wear masks while on the job even if fully vaccinated and boosted. It took this long? Really? 

POTUS 45 got booed when he said he was boosted at a rally in Texas the other day.  Gotta love that. The old "do as I say, not as I do."  The problem for him is that all his supporters are going to die of Covid. And if you think that is hyperbole, new medical studies show higher rates of death in solid Republican areas of the country. Which just goes to show that nature is not political. 

And finally, we can do without those "Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays" emails. See our post for Thanksgiving. And yet some of the very people reading this blog cannot help themselves and are clogging all our inboxes with insipid holiday emails. Just stop it. 

Covid update: Omicron is not less severe in the illness it causes, if you are unvaccinated. It is spreading so fast it may burn itself out and we will still be left with Delta. 

We will be posting all week, so while you're home not trying cases, feel free to peruse the best blog around. 


Monday, December 20, 2021

WOLFSON PULLS THE PLUG

 Because of the two C's- Covid and Christmas, Judge Wolfson has pulled the plug on jury trials in the REGJB for the last two weeks of the year, thwarting Rumpole's plans for a Christmas acquittal ala Team Markus and their victory last week. 

If you want to clog up your email inbox, then subscribe to the Media Advisories out of the SAO because just like this summer, prosecutors are catching covid quicker than they can file a DV case with no discernable injury.  You'll get twenty or so an hour, every hour, announcing that "Unfortunately" two or more unnamed employees have tested positive for covid because for some reason prosecutors do not believe in wearing masks. 

Omicron is going to be bad folks. Very bad. If you're not vaccinated and boosted and you get sick and need to go to a hospital, you will have a better chance of getting a prosecutor to go below a misdemeanor DV complaining witness's request for forty years in prison than getting into a hospital because not only are they going to be overwhelmed because of the sheer volume of people infected, but the breakthrough ability of the virus is going to hit the medical profession hard. And when doctors and nurses are sick, they cannot work. And if they cannot work, there is no one to intubate you. 

You're on your own maskless C prosecutors. And you heard it here first. 


Sunday, December 19, 2021

NFL WEEK 15 COVID CLASSIC

 As we enter week 15 of the 2021 NFL season, YOUR Miami Dolphins are still very much alive for a wildcard spot. We would have been at the Jets game today, but there is this little thing called Omicron, and discretion is the better part of Covid. So from our home with the new big screen TV we make the following predictions. 

But first the Survivor pool. Jon Colby is rolling with the hometown Dolphins. While Clay Kaeiser, has craftly selected the gold miners out west- San Fran over the Falcons. We could have a winner this week! If not, next week we will institute a tie breaker including the closest prime number to the MNF total, or something like that. Congrats to two veteran players taking this down to the wire. 

Our picks this week are NO picks. No bettor would touch any game with covid ripping through the league. If you have to plunk down a sawbuck, then this is where you should put it:

Bengals +1.5 in Denver. Playoff push for the cats. 

The most intriguing game is Saints at Bradyville. Tom Terrific has never lost four straight to any team in the regular season (he famously lost two straight super bowls to the Giants, and we still have some financial benefits of those wins -we bought a little crypto with it) and the Saints have a three-game streak against the GOAT.  Take the Halos and 10.5 over the Bucs in Tampa, because it's fun to watch that cheater lose and throw a fit. 

And our best bet, coaching change lock bet- from the ONLY handicapper in the land who publicly predicted the no-win Lions first win-   the Jacksonville Jaguars -3.5 at home over the Texans. Call it the post Urban Meyer hangover recovery win. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

LIFE GOES ON

Life goes on and so do we.
There is death and tragedy and suffering and waiting to be called for a case and waiting to get into FDC...

And there is life and art and literature and beauty and decency and caring and concern for others. 

So in the face of heartache and pain of losing a good friend, we do what he would have wanted. We go on. Living our life as best we can. Blogging like no one else can. And winning cases....

Speaking of winning cases...

DOM scored another win this week in federal court. 
A nasty EPA , dredging behind a home   without all the permits case in the Keys case.  The feds came after his client like he was Pablo Escobar caught with a thousand keys....or like a Biden supporter in Georgia tinkering with the voting machines. 

But it didn't matter. Justice prevailed and David and his team head into the new year with a nice Christmas win. 

Rumpole's rules of trials #7: Schedule your toughest cases for the weeks before Christmas and New Years. 

Congratulations to Team Markus for a great win. Alex Michaels would be proud. 


Thursday, December 16, 2021

ALEX MICHAELS FUNERAL FRIDAY

 Alex Michaels funeral is tomorrow (Friday) starting at 12 noon:

Caballero Rivero Southern 

15011 W Dixie Highway 

North Miami 

12-2 pm. 

There may be a zoom link which we will post when we receive it. 


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

SURF'S UP

" Let's go surfin now; everybody's learnin how;                                                                     come on and go Covid Omicron surfin with me."

With apologies to the Beach Boys, the Omicron Covid wave is cresting and about to hit the shores of the United States. 

If you get the "media advisories" from the SAO, then you will know multiple prosecutors have come down with Covid over the last few days. And yet...having been in the courthouse frequently the last two weeks, we continually see prosecutors in court sans masks. As if they think they cannot get Covid. 

For allegedly smart and accomplished people, they are pretty dumb. 

The CDC is reporting not only two-vaccine Omicron vaccine breakthrough, but booster breakthrough as well. Now, before you lunk heads who are not vaccinated start emailing us about how this proves vaccines are worthless, they are not. The data is that there is significant protection with the booster, and the hospitalization rates for vaccinated people are very low. Trust us, there is a significant difference being home and being miserable and lying in a hospital room as they pump propofol in you as you lose consciousness as you're being intubated, with the knowledge these are most likely your last conscious thoughts for eternity.  Or pretty much the same way you feel waiting to be called in Hialeah branch court. 

So here is the problem. Since Omicron acts like Rumpole on cross (break throughs and breakdowns) then medical personnel are going to be hit as well. Which means when you go to the ER because you're having trouble breathing, and there is a line of 2-3 thousand people ahead of you, and there are no doctors or nurses  because they are home sick, you're going to wish you were vaccinated. 

Meanwhile we want to know what our courts are going to do? 

Federal magistrates have in person hearings. The REGJB is mixed. But lawyers, clerks, litigants and even judges should not be in public during Omicron. 

Other than that, have a happy holiday season. 




Monday, December 13, 2021

KIM K PASSES BAR EXAM

 In the scheme of things, it may be the most important legal news of the century. 

Kim Kardashian has passed the Bar exam- and she didn't even go to law school. 

Contracts? Torts? Why waste time with that when you're a billionaire because you ...do something, but are not quite sure what. There's a TV show, but we don't know why. 

The news out of California, which Ms. K broke on some social media site we have never been on, and was since repeated until it made Le Monde, was that she passed one of two Bar exams. 

It's California, so anything is possible. 

Scene: A storefront office on Santa Monica Boulevard, LA. 

Client walks in and is greeted by a receptionist.

R: How may I help you?

C: Hello. Umm... I need a lawyer cause I'm like famous for being famous. Do you like, um, have anyone who ummm like has experience in that?

R: Certainly Ms. Hilton, just have a seat. Ms. Kardashian will be with you shortly. 



Sunday, December 12, 2021

NFL VEEK 14 2021

 In Honor of Alex Michaels, @draulawyer, an honorary Twitter account that was established many years ago, and we heard that Alex loved, @draculawyer vill make dee picks for fooootaball dis veek. 


Plotting to vin another case


[But first, both Colby and Clay Kaeiser have picked the Packers this week in the survivorpool]. 

Rumpole, here are my pics for dis veek. They vill vin. 

Cowboys vill beat Vashington Football teem by more den 4. Vat is dere problem, dis Vashington teem? How long dey take to pick new name? I give dem until next veek and den I again start calling dem Redskins. Or Dumbskins, or Don-know-my-name-skins.  Or how bout De Monuments because dey are blockheads? Either vay dey lose today. 

I like dee Bills to light it up against Tampa. I make lots of money last year betting on Brady even though he a pretty boy. Bills + three and over 52. 

Bengals bounce back today. Dey say Bengals QB has hurt pinkie. Oh poor little boy. My heart bleeds for you. Man up. Today dey vill beat 49ers because 49ers have real injuries and many players out.  

Cardinals -2.5 beat Rams at home Monday night. Dey beat dem once dis year and now they are better. Cardinals vill vin super bowl dis year. I told you here first. Bet on it. 

@draulawyer.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

ALEX MICHAELS HAS PASSED AWAY

UPDATE: FUNERAL ARRAGMENTS FOR FRIDAY DECEMBER 17 

Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Funeral is at Caballero Rivero Southern at 15011 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami, Florida 33181. Viewing is from 12-2. The burial will be afterwards.  

Alex Michaels, originally known to us as Alex Micalescu, has passed away. This is sad news. Under any measure, he has been known and will be known as a true Justice Building Legend. That word is not too strong in representing who he was. 

Alex had a super-hero origin story. Escaping communist Romania by swimming across a river. Hustling chess and backgammon in the parks of NYC. Starting as a prosecutor in Miami in Janet Reno's office, until he found his true calling as a defense attorney. 

Alex won cases no one else could win. He did it without regard to any personal or professional costs. When a client hired him, that case became his cause. In an age when the NY Times is writing op ed pieces on dirty prosecutors ruining people's lives and getting away with it, perhaps we should not be too quick to condemn Alex for some of his more public disciplinary issues. Sure he cursed at a prosecutor in court (in Romanian), but Alex often was surprised that his antics were taken so personally. He once made a prosecutor cry, and then sent her flowers as an apology. 

There are legions of stories about the cases Alex won. He caught a prosecutor lying in court during a motion to suppress, and somehow discerned that SHE had actually been in a warehouse with a police officer, canoodling, when his client was accused of breaking in and trying to steal drugs. Case dismissed. Prosecutor quit/fired. 

How many blog readers have had a Not Guilty in a first-degree murder case? Alex could have papered the walls with his office with his NGs. He had a murder case once before Judge De La O, who told us that the cross was right out of a movie, where the eye-witness broke on the stand and refused to continue with the cross.  Alex hammered him. The case was JOA'd.  

The stories go on and on. 

What we are left with is a lawyer who gave his all for his clients, in every case, every time. Law and defense were not a business for him. They were a cause, a passion. Coming from oppression, Alex understood what it meant to be oppressed. He knew what it felt like to have no voice. He was at his best standing up for a client no one else would stand up for. And he did it time and time again, giving no ground, suspicious of everything, fighting for his client until his last dying breath. 

We will not see the likes of Alex Micalescu/Michaels again. But we celebrate his life and mourn his death. 

Goodbye old friend. 

QUESTIONS FOR A FEDERAL JUDGE

 Under the hypothetical scenario that one or more federal judges would appear on some sort of legal panel/CLE event and deigned to take questions from the audience, what questions would you want to ask our life-appointed jurist? 

Here are a few that occur to us:

1) Your honor- President Trump may well have been the worst president ever to serve. His actions directly led to the insurrection of January 6 and the attack on the US Congress. To this day he has refused to acknowledge that he lost the election leading many (ignorant) Americans to believe the election was truly stolen. Recently the Washington Post has reported that Trump knew he had tested positive for covid a week before it was disclosed and during that time he attended many events mask-less, including the introduction of Justice Coney Barret in which dozens of people were infected, and attended the first debate with Joe Biden, imperiling Biden's health. Trump diminishes science, ridiculed the use of a mask, appealed to white supremacists and diminished their responsibility for the racial attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia,  doesn't believe in global warming, and basically has the intellect and moral compass of a coconut. Do you think any of your colleagues who were appointed during the last administration had a moral imperative to decline their nomination to the bench, as accepting a nomination legitimized his presidency which has caused disastrous damage to our country?


2) Your honor- we all know the federal sentencing guidelines were enacted in 1987 when most Americans did not have a personal computer, did not use email, and did not have a cell phone. Is the current application of the sophisticated means enhancement just a negation of the acceptance of responsibility reduction because nearly every case now qualifies for the enhancement, reducing the acceptance to a mere one-point reduction (3-2=1). How do you feel about the criticism of the sophisticated means enhancement by one of your colleagues who wrote that the use of the enhancement these days is akin to fining someone for speeding and then enhancing the fine for the use of an automobile? 


3) Your Honor- unlike many districts around the country, the Miami probation office has the reputation of merely accepting the government's version of the facts when preparing a PSI/PSR (and as a side question, which do you prefer? PSI or PSR?). In fact, in the last dozen sentencings I have participated in, NOT ONE WORD of the defense version of the facts appeared in the PSI/PSR's version of the facts. Do you think the system is broken as it applies to our district's probation office's preparation of PSI/PSRs?

4) Boxers or briefs? No, just kidding. Your Honor- it is unconstitutional to sentence a defendant more severely just because they exercised their right to trial. And yet every single defense attorney in this country that tries cases, except for Jerry Spence who never lost a trial- will tell you that every client they ever represented who lost a trial was punished for going to trial. Isn't it time to just admit there is a trial tax? At least let's be honest about what everyone knows is occurring. 

Of course we do not get invited to judicial functions where judges answer questions. Wonder why. 


Monday, December 06, 2021

DISMISSED AND THEN REVIEWED

 In many foreign countries, some of which we dismiss as "backwater dictatorships" an acquittal or dismissal by a court results in an appeal. Many times the charges are reinstated. 

Add Florida to the list of "backwater dictatorships" when it comes to Judicial Bar Complaints, by judges, against lawyers, in which a duly empaneled Bar Committee dismisses the judicial complaint as nothing more than arrant hogwash

Apparently our judges could not live with non-judges dismissing their complaints. "They're not judges, so what do they know?" was the reasoning we imagine was bandied about. 

So now we have Bar Rule 3-7.18 which will require the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar and potentially the Florida Supreme Court to review all dismissals of Bar complaints initiated by the high and mighty that wear black robes to work. We say "potentially" as to the Florida Supreme Court, because in bureaucratic speak, that means they are trying to wiggle out of more work. 

Bar Complaint: "Rumpole accused the entire Florida Supreme Court of trying to wiggle out of work."

Bar Committee: "Dismissed. Free Speech. A satirical blog. We like reading him, etc."

Case referred to... the Florida Supreme Court. Oh, that's nice. The victims adjudicating the case. A Dade County State Attorney dream come true. 

So now, like Iran, North Korea, China, Venezuela, and other bastions of due process, which Florida now joins in respect to how they treat attorneys,  a dismissal of a Bar complaint means little when you offend someone with a B...I.....G  ego. Emphasize big. 

Just wondering if the door will swing the other way, when a lawyer files a JQC complaint that is dismissed? Will those get reviewed as well? Let's put it this way. While we were just about the only ones smart enough Sunday morning to tell you that the Lions would win their first game of the season, the chances of Judges and the Supreme Court allowing review of dismissal of judicial complaints is the same or less than the Lions winning the super bowl this year.   

Sunday, December 05, 2021

NFL WEEK 13 2021

 And then there were two: Week 13 in the survivor pool sees Retired Judge Colby picking the Rams, while local favorite Clay Kaeiser, a long-time steely-eyed veteran of the Survivor pool who traditionally starts off every year with his nerves-of-steel- pick of the Fins, chooses KC.  FFM went down last week after the Eagles lost to the Giants. We may well have a winner this week. Well played gentlemen. 

Our hometown Fins were perfect in November, and today they face a NY Giants team without their QB. Miami -3 and under 41. WIN AND WIN 

The best game of the week is the MNF game with the NE Cheaters at Buffalo fighting for the...ready now...number one seed in the AFC. Alas the wheels come off the Belichick Bus on this game. Bills at home -2.5. 

And now for our startling pick of the week. The Vikings travel to the Motor City to take on the winless Detroit Lions. And we predict that they will be winless no more! You read that correctly. Eschew the seven points you're getting as a home dog and pick the Lions and the money line +275 and lay 100 to win 275 because your Detroit Lions are going to win their first game of the season! 

AND ON THE LAST PLAY OF THE GAME, 4TH AND 2, FROM THE 12, 4 SECONDS LEFT, DETROIT WITH THE BALL, DOWN 27-23...GEOFF THOWS AND .....

TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN LIONS WIN LIONS WIN

WHO IS THE MAN? RUMPOLE IS THE MAN!! 

For some extra holiday money, take the Cardinals coming off a bye week on the road against Da Bears, -7.5  WIN

Want to make some green? Then bet Green (Philly) vs Green (J..E..T..S...Jets Jets Jets) and take the Over 45.5. WIN

Saturday, December 04, 2021

PALINDROMES

 Palindromes. They are not just "Madam I am Adam"   Palindromes are words or phrases that read the same backwards and forwards. 

There are also Palindrome dates, the best being the full eight digits. Those are rare. We had one this past week:  12/02/2021. 

There will be only 12 eight-digit palindrome dates this century. The next is March 2, 2030- 03/02/2030. 

Most of you didn't know this until you read this blog. 

Now you do. 

Now for some news to bring you back down from your Palindrome high. 

Omicron is everywhere. 

Get your booster. Wear a mask. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

HOLIDAY COVERAGE

 It's not really the holidays until we get the Court holiday coverage calendar. Which judges are staying home baking cookies and eating latkes? Which Judges are trudging to the REGJB to cover so they can take those weeks off in July and August? We have it all....here....and on the blog you cannot do without. 

Your Christmas Eve Bond Hearings Judge? The winner, coming in at 24-1 is .....Al Milian! Which means either he's in the dog house with the higher ups, or just is a really nice guy (most likely the latter).  Judge Altfield is the emergency judge to handle all those "my client just got arrested on Xmas eve and needs to get out" issues. If you had the Milian/Altfield Perfecta, it pays a whopping 85-1- extra holiday money! 

Meanwhile, Omicron  is in California, courtesy of a Joe Biden/Bill Gates/Washington Pizzeria conspiracy that reaches all levels of society. 


Holiday Coverage 2021 by HR on Scribd

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

THE ROAD TO IEL

We admit to complete confusion over the whole gender non-binary pronoun ...thing? What's the right word for this? We have no idea. We see emails, twitters, Zoom IDs with the phrase pronouns "she/her/they". 

What does it mean? He/me/us have no idea. Nor do we care to. We subscribe to the maxim of the 1960's- call us whatever you wish, just don't call us late to dinner.  Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. We had a law school professor who used to say that you could do whatever you want, so long as it was not immoral, illegal, or fattening.  (We/Us/ say, we guess you/they/he/she/her/him had to be there.)

The French, Mon Ami, however, consider this a very big deal.  First a little primer on French. The masculine pronoun is preferred. The male pronoun is the correct one to use when describing a group of men and women. The masculine form of adjectives is the correct one to use when describing a group of men and women. 

The French have two dictionaries that consider it their sworn duty to protect the French Language: Le Petit Robert and Larousse. Thus it became a nation-shaking event when Le Petit Robert added "iel" as a nonbinary pronoun. Pronounced similar to yell, "iel" is a combination of the masculine "il" (he")  and the feminine "elle" (she). 

Le Petit Robert defines "iel" as a third person pronoun, both singular and plural to evoke a person of any gender. 

The French view this as an assault by...Americans advancing their/our "woke culture"  on the French. "Aie!" (Ouch). "Mince!" (drat). This is the argument of France's Education Minister. 

The Academie Francaise, established almost four hundred years ago to protect the French Language, has, naturally, a Secretary- in-Perpetuity, who called the new pronoun harmful to the French language. 

Larousse turned up its French/Aquiline nose at what its counter-part has done. Brigitte Macron, the French First Lady, weighed in against the third pronoun. 

So what is the deal with people announcing their preferred pronouns? As a woke Judge might inquire, "what say you/they/them?" 

Why just announce pronoun preference? Why not soda preference as well? "He/me/Diet Dr. Pepper".  Or Sports teams: "She/her/Rangers/Knicks/Mets/Jets". In a city like NY, where who you root for -Mets or Yankees, Jets or Giants, says as much about you as your choice in wine, the identification of sports team makes all the difference as to who you are. Mets/Queens; Yankees/Bronx. 

 Jets fans have a cold beer in a can with a hot dog, and a shot in the parking lot after the game/loss. 

So we/us/me, tell you/he/she to leave us be, when it comes to they/their/thee. 

Post Script: There is nothing funny about transgender discrimination. We are old enough to remember feeling sick when judges/prosecutors/defense attorneys would joke about what would happen to a transgender female being denied bond and housed with men. The term we remember being used was "he-shes", Nothing we wrote is meant to diminish the harm those poor souls suffered, or the discrimination and bias transgender people experience everyday. We may not understand the new language, and that- and the French pushback about gender neutral pronouns is what this post is about. It is not meant or intended to mock anyone. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

GUNS IN SCHOOL....AGAIN

 A 15 year old Sophomore student brought a gun to school today and killed three students  and wounded six others. 

But...guns don't kill people... students in school kill people. 


LIMITATIONS AND OTHER THINGS

 DOM is headed to the 11th Circuit to argue the issues surrounding the Pandemic and the statute of limitations. It's the arcane minutiae that some lawyers- and according to the post here- judges are drawn to. There is apparently a split in our district as to whether prosecutors can just extend the SOL six months because they are wearing a mask at work. [*cough..*cough].   Our response to SOL issues is just to shine our shoes and pick twelve and be done with it. But that's why he's a better defense attorney than we are. Sort of. 

We are in the run up to the end of year pause, jury trials wise. If you're not in trial this week or next, then, relax. If you have followed our tried and true advice then you have a trial and a bunch of sentencings set for the week of December 20. Ho Ho Ho. 

No word on Omicron issues. More virulent? Causes more severe disease? Not sure yet. Will the vaccines work? Yes, but no word on how effective they are. 

We were just wondering the other day how many of our amateur Covid vaccine scientists did prior research on antibiotics or even Tylenol before they took a pill when they were sick. Didn't hear much discussion about that, or even chemotherapy if some of them were diagnosed with cancer. 

Meanwhile, a Miss Universe contestant has tested positive for Covid19 in Israel. They still have that contest in these days of #metoo? Count us as surprised. 

Get vaccinated. Get your booster. Bill Gates needs to know where you are at all times and he cannot do that with video surveillance because too many people are wearing masks. 

Stay safe. Don't go to court. 


Sunday, November 28, 2021

NFL WEEK 12 2021

 We are down to three in the thrilling REGJB Survivor Pool- Retired Judge Jon Colby, Clay Kaeiser, and Fake Freddy Moldovan.  Colby is taking the Ravens, CK is taking the Patriots and FFM is taking the 49ers, which means we could have a survivor today. 

In honor of the final three, we will pick those games. 

CK likes the Cheaters, who are minus 5.5 at home and have a surprising winning streak and are in first place of the AFC east. While we think many teams return to the mean, the Patriots are clicking, are at home, and the Titans are missing their beast MVP running back. While we like the Belichicks to win this one, we'll take the Titans and the points. 

FFM is counting on the home town 49ers to San Fran the streaking Vikings. This is a hot passer (Vikes QB Cousins) who hasn't tossed an INT in five games against a good 49er pass defense. We will take the D over the O, plus, while Minny wins, they don't win big. Take San Fran and give the standard home town three. 

Colby thinks the Ravens will fly over the Browns. We agree. We will also lay the 3.5 for the home town Birds who are happy, like all fowl, that Thanksgiving is over. 

You know what will be a good game? Carolina and Cam against our Fins.  Miami is a home town dog. -1. We'll take the point and the under 42. 

Omicron is -10 over Delta. Give the points. This guy is lightening fast and tricky in the open field, defeating the defenses of most of Europe, and showing up now in the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Italy. It's already in the US. You can bank on that. Get your booster. Wear your mask. And stay home if you can. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

OMICRON

 Here's what we know about the new variant. It is highly transmissible. It has over thirty changes to the spike protein of the Covid virus, which potentially makes it more infectious and perhaps less resistant to a vaccine. By contrast, the Delta Variant had two changes to the spike protein. 

Omicron has been detected in people in England, Germany, Italy, and India. Most EU countries and the US have announced travel restrictions on people coming from Africa. Israel locked down, prohibiting any foreigners from entering the country.  By this time next week, if not sooner, you will be reading about Omicron cases in the US. We have an interconnected world. Other than sealing the boarders- which isn't a bad idea for two weeks- Omicron will be here, if it isn't here already (and it probably is). 

The good news is that vaccine companies have said they can  change their MRNA vaccines within 100 days to block the new spike proteins on the new variant. The CDC is also conducting tests to see how effective the current vaccines are. There is no proof at the moment that the current vaccines do not stop Omicron- especially since the tracking chip the vaccines implant allow Microsoft to track vaccinated people, including those in Africa. 

Here's what we are calling on Chief Judges Sayfie and Altonaga  to do: Require everyone who enters a courthouse in Dade County to show proof of vaccine and to wear a mask. People have the option of showing up on zoom if needed. We once again remind you- if a judge can order us to wear a jacket and tie in August, if a judge can revoke a bond or deny bond on a new arrest, a judge can require people to wear masks in court. They might not be able to make someone get a vaccine, but they can deny entry to anyone who doesn't want the Gates/Fauci/Trilateral Commission  chip in their body. 

Omicron could be nothing more than Delta on steroids. Or it could be a lot worse. We do not think it is worth risking anyone's health to find out. Stop jury trials for misdemeanors until the end of the year. Quite frankly stop all trials until the first week of January.

 We will know more in a few weeks. Why risk it? 


Thursday, November 25, 2021

GRATITUDE

 Because of our anti-Happy-Thanksgiving-rant earlier this week, we cannot send such felicitous thoughts at this time. But can take stock of all we are grateful for. Starting with the important and ending with the sublime. 

If you peruse our Great Jail Adventure post yesterday, it may become apparent that before heading out to the jail, we were actually in the Old Gray Lady (The REGJB) and went inside a courtroom for the bond hearing. We walked into several courtrooms and this is what we saw: Judges in Masks, PDs and ASAs (mostly maskless); clerks; corrections officers, bailiffs, and all of the people needed to run a court calendar and run a court system. We are grateful for all of you. In the face of a pandemic, you marched into court and kept the system running, at personal risk to your health and life. Thank You. And while we are at it- you twenty something prosecutors and PDs who feel the invincibility  of youth- you're not. Wear a mask please.  

Second, we are grateful for the opportunity to blog. We couldn't do it if this was Beijing. The equivalent of Chief Judge Soto and now Sayfie would have had us arrested and sent to a reeducation camp. Instead, because of the First Amendment, our chief judges, our administrative judges, our judges, endured the slings and arrows of the blog with public grace. True, we've been dressed down privately in scathing emails from a certain Judge - but it was mostly deserved  and we reached a detente. 

We are grateful for our health.  "Good health...the most important thing." (identify the movie quote for valuable prizes). 

About ten days ago we walked into a medical facility and got a booster shot. It took all of thirty minutes with a reservation, including observation time. We are grateful to live in a country that protects intellectual property rights and rewards innovation. This is why we had scientists who had the knowledge and skill to develop a vaccine. Want the Pfizer or Moderna or the one from Russia or China? Moderna please we said, and we got it (get the full dose BTW). 

We are grateful for Hulu TV which we discovered during the pandemic. If not for the NFL ticket, we would cut the cord on cable. 

We are grateful for our Kindle. We can read whatever we want where ever we are. If you like to read, get one. Trust us. You won't miss the feel of books and the ability to manipulate the font and lighting makes reading so much easier. 

We are grateful for our barista at our local Starbucks, who five days a week has our favourite drink ready for us when we walk in. Just the right amount of espresso and coconut milk and shots of vanilla and she even knows that on Friday, just to mix things up, we want it on ice. She was out sick one day and called a colleague to have our drink ready.  You don't see that attention to customers much these days.

In no particular order, we are grateful for home baked crusty bread, the coffee and croissants  at the Pierre in Manhattan that they bring to our room every morning, our Peloton,  the Bills getting beat last week, the series the Kominsky Method on Netflix- Alan Arkin is brilliant and the most underrated comedic actor of his generation, the Noability App on our iPad, which makes reading discovery a breeze, a certain recent opinion in the First, and last, but not least, a majority of our readers, who make writing the blog a fulfilling experience. 

Happy You Know What. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

RUMPOLE'S JAIL VISIT ADVENTURE

 We often hear incarcerated  clients complain to judges that their lawyers never see them. We often see Judges tell lawyers to go see their clients in jail, like it's a visit to McDonalds. It is not. 

And so it came to pass that even Rumpole was unable (for the moment) to secure bond for a client and was forced to do something that we have not done in well over two years- trudge to the Dade County Jail. which BTW is known at PTD or the Pre Trial Detention Center- and go visit a client. 

A staff member called the jail. Unlike 11 Madison Park in Manhattan, or Nobu, no reservations needed. Just come on in. So we went, and thus  entered the black hole of time trying to see a client in jail. 

We waited in line outside while various food vendors and corrections officers carrying sacks full of fast food lined up to be screened. Important tip- don't go to the jail over lunch hour when trillions of calories are trucked in. 

We were screened and then had to surrender our DL because we did not have a quarter for the locker. We traded out DL for a locker key.  Then the officer asked if we were seeing the person on video- because if we were we needed to go around the corner. "No video for us" we said through our N95 mask. She just chuckled. We- who take such pride in reading the slightest twitch of a witness on the stand- ignored the signs. We know better. 

We went to the front desk and secured the comforting sight of a pink slip. Wrote in the jail number and location slipped our bar card and ID to the woman. "You want to see him on video right?"

"No thank you. In person please."

Well that caused a serious problem. A lot of huddling, pointing at us, more huddling, someone coming to the window to speak with us, and then taking a ten minute phone call while we stood there, and more huddling and then a sergeant: "You want to see him on video, right?"

"No sir. In person please."

"Hmmm....wait here." More calls. More huddling. Another supervisor. "I am advising you that the best thing to do is to see your client on video. If you just walk around the corner there is a video set up and I'll have him brought to the video room." 

We surrendered. It had been an hour. We had things to do. 

We walked around the corner to behind the PDs office and went to a window. We peered inside. It was an enormous dark room. About thirty feet away sat two corrections officers with their backs to us, facing an array of video machines. It was like the set up the NSA and Bill Gates have to track people who have been vaccinated for Covid. High tech. Well high tech except that with the three feet of bullet proof glass, and no one sitting at the window, and the two officers with their backs to us, we had no way of getting their attention. 

Twenty minutes later back to PTD. Back to the screening. Back to surrendering our ID because we still didn't have a quarter. Back to the window, where we told the woman our problem with the video. "Oh, no problem, Go back. I'll call them. Back to the locker. Back to getting our ID. Back out the door, Back down the street. Back to the window. Now there was only one officer, and she was facing the screens. It was not our day. Twenty minutes later an officer came into the Miami branch of the Gates/NSA/Covid tracking center and saw us. We handed them the slip. 

"Do you have an account?"

"Ummm....I do not think so."

Off she went to a computer to confer with Bill Gates. Back she came fifteen minutes later. "You do have an account, but this inmate is not on your list."

"Well, that makes sense. He was just arrested."

"No problem. I'll just add him."

She went to the computers. A supervisor came over. They huddled and pointed at me a few times. More conferring. More entering of Data. Perhaps they were concerned about when we were recently in NYC and ate Dim Sum in Chinatown according to their vaccine tracking data. 

They came back to us. "The computer will not let us add him to your account. Go back to the jail."

Back down the street. Back to the jail. Back to the line. Back to being screened. Back to giving them our DL because we didn't have a quarter. Back to the window with the now wrinkled pink slip. 

Corrections Officer: "We are going to bring him down so you can see him."

Rumpole: "Great."

Corrections Officer: "Umm can you come back in 90 minutes? We have shift change now."

Back to our car. Did you know there is no Starbucks nearby the REGJB? We drove to Biscayne Boulevard and secured some coffee. Time elapsed so far: three hours, twenty minutes. Back to the courthouse. Park. Back to the jail. Back to the line. Back to being screened. Still no quarter (we love the Starbucks app and have over a hundred stars). Back to the locker. Back to the front window. A new officer is there. We hand her the slip: "Ummm.... you want to see him on video right?"

Post Script. The story you have read is 100% true. It took us over five hours to see our client in the Dade  County Jail. Almost every officer we dealt with was polite and helpful. There is just a bureaucracy and significant hurdles in seeing a client in jail. Imagine if we had a two week trial to prepare for and had to do this every day for trial prep. 

So we say to our robed readers, especially the ones fond of pontificating how when they were in private practice they saw every client in jail every day and tried every case at the first trial setting- that the next time you wonder why the lawyer in front of you is being too lazy to spend a half hour with her client in jail, it is because at this point in time it is probably easier to be a Chinese spy trying to get into Mar A Lago, then it is to get into a jail and see a client. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

NO HAPPY THANKSGIVING PLEASE

 This is the time of year when lawyers and businesses, apparently with nothing better to do, feel compelled to clog our email in-boxes with a happy thanksgiving message. It's even worse if they include a picture of a turkey in a Pilgrim's hat. 

Let us tell you what does not occur: A family gathered around a Thanksgiving table, about to eat and give Thanks for the Cowboys covering the spread- when someone says "Wait! We cannot start until we checked the email and received the Happy Thanksgiving email from Dewey Cheetum and Howe!"

"Who?"

"Dewey Cheetum and Howe. You know, those lawyers who did our closing and then sued the roofer for us."

"Oh yeah. You're right. It's just not a Thanksgiving until they send us a "Happy Thanksgiving email. I love the turkey dressed up as a Pilgrim."

SO PLEASE. NO HAPPY THANKSGIVING EMAILS. No other happy holiday emails. We do not need your email to celebrate Chanukah, St. Patrick's Day, or Veteran's Day or Boxing Day or Ramadan. 

Nobody thinks "Isn't that nice. Retired Judge XYZ sent a nice holiday email. Apparently they have a mediation business opening."

 We have enough emails to respond to. We do not need your best wishes. We do not need to know that the "gang at the Florida Filing Portal" is thinking of us on Christmas. They are not thinking of us. They do not even know us. Neither does 99% of the idiots sending us holiday emails.

So just stop it. Do not send that email. We will erase it before we read as will everyone who has half a brain. Granted, Judges sitting in empty courtrooms on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving may spend an enjoyable hour thumbing through emails...but look at your audience. 

SO NO HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM YOUR FAVOURITE BLOG


Sunday, November 21, 2021

NFL WEEK 11 LATE PICKS

 We could not post before 1pm, so here is who we like in the late games Sunday and MNF. But first the survivor pool in which last week saw two players (Colby and Kaeiser) pick the Steelers who tied with the Lions. After the disputes of a few years ago on ties were resolved, see Fake Alex Michaels v. JBB Survivor pool, it was decided that the team you pick needs to LOSE for you to be out of the pool. The reasoning in the concurrence was persuasive: "Under the defendant's theory of needing to win to survive, a player who picked a team in which the game was canceled would be eliminated from the survivor pool because the team they picked did not win the game. Since that is not a result anyone would countenance, the logical result is that survivor pools count losses and not wins. Thus a tie not being a loss, the player survives."

Survivor Pool:

Markus and Freedman: Titans; Fake Freddy Moldovan: Eagles; Clay Kaeiser: Bucs; Colby: Browns. 

Meanwhile as we write this the Titans are losing 12-0 to the Texans at the start of the 3rd Q, jeopardizing Mr. Markus and Rick Freedman. 

Picks: 

KC -2.5 against the Cowpokes; Seahawks +2.5 against the Cardinals; Bengals -1 in Vegas. 

SUNDAY INTERRUPTUS

 There will be no Sunday football post today pending Rumpole's emergency traveling on behalf of a client. 

The Survivor pool will be posted as soon as practical. 

Rumpole apologizes for the inconvenience. 

Blog Intern. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

FALLOUT

 There will be fallout from the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, mark our words.  Criminal law in the United States is shaped not by well thought out policy and initiatives, but public opinion. Why do we have minimum mandatories for crimes? Think about it. A person has been convicted or pled to a crime and presumably the judge has the job of sentencing. Why take the job away from them? Because of public criticism of a judicial action. We have minimum mandatory crimes because of public criticism of a judge exercising her discretion in the 1980's on a sentencing which caused an outrage. "The Judge let em go" people cried. And the legislature responded. Never mind that 99.9999% of the public didn't know the reasons behind the exercise of judicial discretion. The point is some defendant got a low sentence for a murder or a drug case and WHAMMO a minimum mandatory was born. 

We now have minimum mandatories for bond, again because in some DUI Manslaughter case the public reacted to a defendant bonding out. We can probably get a defendant out of jail quicker on a kilo of cocaine case then if she is charged with throwing a piece of tinfoil at her boyfriend because that case is...(cue ominous music) A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE dum dum da dum.  And domestic violence is bad and must be punished, even pre-determination of guilt. 

Which brings us to the Rittenhouse verdict. From what we saw, the verdict was supported by the evidence or lack thereof. But we were not in the courtroom. Neither were all of the people on MSNBC decrying the verdict as racial injustice-although all of the parties- the deceased and injured and the defendant were white.  Rittenhouse ran into a social protest and somehow ended up shooting three people and killing two and that must be wrong AND WE CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN. 

So there will be a fallout. What will it be? Well first we all know it is nearly impossible to prepare a good defense with a client in custody, so there will probably be the Rittenhouse Bail Reform Act which will deny release to any person accused of using a gun in which more than one person is shot. 

Next will be the Rittenhouse Burden of Proof Act which which instruct a jury that in cases where a person is accused of shooting during a public protest the jury must ASSUME the defendant did not act in self defense and can only acquit the defendant if the defense proves "well beyond any possible doubt that s/he had no choice to do anything other than fire their weapon. Simple proof beyond a reasonable doubt will not be sufficient to acquit the defendant." 

The division in the American public goes well beyond Red State/Blue State. It reaches deep into the criminal justice system. And for each case in which there is a verdict that one portion of the country does not support, there will be attempts to reform the criminal justice system to prevent such "injustices from occurring again."

We do not want to get too deep into this, but this brings us to the actions of the Defense Attorney Kevin Gough in the other case being watched- the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The racial lines in this case are clear- white men are on trial for the killing of a black man who they saw running through their neighborhood. Our sympathies do not lie with the defense in this case, unlike the Rittenhouse case. But we write about Gough's ham handed attempt to ban "black preachers" from the audience of the courtroom. 

The openness of courtrooms has always been an issue with us. We have gone after judges and staff who have attempted to ban family and friends from courtrooms in the name of order or space. A courtroom in the United States is open - period, unless the rules to close the courtroom are followed and then Mr. Ovalle and his Miami Herald legal team spring into action. 

But while Gough is wrong, and went about it as about as wrong as possible, he has a point. We have defended clients accused of violence against law enforcement officers  (Q: Officer, how did our client end up with two black eyes and a broken nose? A: When he scratched my pinkie, and realized he had committed a crime, he became so distraught that he began banging his head against the bars of the cell repeatedly"). And we have sat in courtrooms where a sea of uniformed officers sat in audience in an attempt to influence the jury. And we have complained to the Broward Judge, only to see the judge order their staff to set up more chairs for police officers while our client's family had to sit in the hallway (true story. And after our client was acquitted, the judge revoked his bond and took him into custody "for a records check"). 

Our point is no one should be banned from a courtroom. But what Mr. Gough was trying to do was protect his client. He was wrong. But his intentions were good - which of course triggers the "road to hell is paved with good intentions" aphorism. 

That's a lot to chew on. Have at it. 

And BTW why when a client is acquitted does a judge have to do anything else? In Florida they "find and adjudicate the defendant not guilty after the jury has found our client not guilty. In Wisconsin the judge dismissed the case with prejudice. Why is the jury's acquittal not enough?  





Thursday, November 18, 2021

BRUCE JACOBS CATCHES 3 MONTH SUSPENSION

 Miami Lawyer Bruce Jacobs, known for his "Alex Michaels" way of litigating foreclosure defense cases, received a recommendation from County Court Judge Betsy Zane-Alvarez that he be suspended for three months and receive two years of probation.  The recommendation is a clear win for Jacobs and his lawyers Ben Kuehne and Roy Wasson as the Bar had sought a multi-year suspension for the controversial lawyer. 

Jacobs was facing three complaints- two from the Third DCA (Motto "Be NICE...to us") and one from Civil Judge Michael Hanzman who filed his complaint with the Bar while the two Third DCA complaints were already being litigated: In sum, Mr. Jacobs is unrepentant, undeterred, and continues to engage in the exact same behavior he was sanctioned for and which is now presumably being investigated by the bar.”                                            (Rumpole practice tip: Don't F with Judge Hanzman). 

Jacobs made a multitude of disparaging comments about our beloved Third DCA, including allegations that the Third DCA ignored Florida Supreme Court precedent,  violated standards of review, and that its decisions were so antithetical to the Constitution as to be traitorous and could constitute treason (but he did say the coffee in the attorney lounge at the Third was decent). 

The Rumanian Mumble it is not, see Michaels v. Loftus, 139 So. 3d 324, 327–28 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) (The Romanian Mumble:  Mr. Michaels' use of foul language, however, is another matter. On this charge, Mr. Michaels admitted that while extending his hand toward Mr. Von Zamft, he mumbled the words “futos gutos monte” at him. Tr. 97. The trial court immediately knew or gleaned from Mr. Michaels' scornfulness that the words meant “F* *k You.” Mr. Michaels confirmed the trial judge's interpretation of the words during colloquy at the contempt hearing held a few hours later.) 

But as you can see from Judge Alvarez-Zane's painstakingly detailed order, Jacobs said and wrote a lot of stuff lawyers who aren't alleging election fraud shouldn't say. 

So here is the big question: Will the Florida Supreme Court affirm the punishment or will they increase it?


The Florida Bar v. Bruce Jacobs — Report of the Referee — Supreme Court of Florida by HR on Scribd

 
 
This story was originally reported by the DBR which is where we got the order from. 

RITTENHOUSE VERDICT TODAY?

 Day three of jury deliberations in the Wisconsin Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. This has been a fascinating case. The Judge is a real character, known as tough on the prosecution during trial, and for handing out tough sentences. 

The defendant is an enigma. He has a baby face. And yet he ran into a nasty mob situation that was not his community, with an AR17 as a seventeen year old. From the spectacular defense we have seen, it does appear he was threatened by the people he shot. And yet...he shot three people and killed two. It would seem to us that a complete acquittal would be hard for any jury to do. But murder charges seem  inappropriate. 

The latest issue is what we in Florida would call a discovery violation necessitating a Richardson hearing. The prosecution introduced a drone video that shows Rittenhouse chasing one of the deceased before shooting him. The prosecution did disclose the video, but not a more prejudicial high-def version that the defense did not see until two days before closing. Another motion for mistrial was filed. 

Meanwhile Wisconsin has a policy of picking the regular and alternate jurors from a barrel that has all the jurors names in it, after closings. And the Judge in this case has had a policy of letting the defendant pluck the names instead of a clerk. Just another quirk from a common sense, but quirky judge, who told everyone that he thinks defendants feel better when they have a measure of control over their case. 

Today is Thursday. Remember Rumpole's first rule of trials: AVOID FRIDAY VERDICTS!

We will be monitoring the case throughout the day as we pound out motions and appellate briefs. 

Thank you for all the (mostly) kind blog birthday wishes. And the cake was totally unnecessary but delicious.