WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

ALL WE ARE SAYING ....

 Is to give PDs a chance. To become judges. Fake News MSNBC reports  that President Biden has appointed a significant number of district and appellate court judges who have experience as public defenders. The same cannot be said by the science denying, vaccine avoiding, mask-mocking Governor of the Sunshine State.  You can be appointed a Judge in Florida as a former or current public defender if -one of the following must apply-

[ ] You can walk on water;

[ ] You can feed the masses with a loaf of bread; 

[ ] You can show that you were forced at gunpoint by Antifa to be an Assistant Public Defender;  and/or

[ ]   you are the author of the book "The dirty secrets of being a Public Defender and Covid Vaccine Supporter". 

Otherwise, as a throw back to the signs often seen in 1950's in Miami Beach: "No Blacks, Jews, or APDs need apply."

In the 1970s and 80s we used to opine that former prosecutors made the best judges. But that was before the current crop of under 35, no legal scholarship, no life experience, no deep thinking about the law, former prosecutors who are now judges,  whose chief claim to being qualified- besides standing in court for years and saying "the victim wants the max", is their membership in the Federalist Society, although we doubt any of them have the ability to distinguish between Federalist 10 and, say Federalist 84. (See below, if you're interested). The late Judge Michael Salmon surely would have been able to opine for hours on the differences. But then, he was a legal scholar. 

Now we have a gaggle of zoom hating, exclusionary rule denying, right wing judges who follow precedent only to the extent it advances their career and solidifies their street cred as conservatives: 

Judge:     "But why should Miranda apply when a defendant voluntarily confesses, counsel?"

 Lawyer: "Well, the police broke my client's nose before he confessed."

Judge: "Well, he didn't file an internal affairs complaint or call 911 when he was beaten, so I don't find that argument credible."

Lawyer: "Well, the next time you're beaten senseless and then kept in isolation for a month with no access to phone, I suppose you'll contact 911 via carrier pigeon." 

Here's the current list of applicants to County Court. 

11th JNC PRESS RELEASE Announcing Interviewee Dates and Times for Judge Diana Vizcaino Vacancy (4812-5869-0... by HR on Scribd



In Federalist 84 (there are a total of 85 Federalist Papers) Alexander Hamilton, he of future  Broadway fame, argued against the need for a Bill of Rights, confident that future judges would find via judicial review (see Hamilton's Federalist 78) the rights not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. Despite the holding of Griswold v. Connecticut  (where the court found a right of privacy in the " penumbra" of the Bill of Rights), boy was he ever  wrong. 

In Federalist 10, often called the most important Federal Paper, Madison makes the case for preventing the will of the majority overcoming the rights of the minority. 

The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it,…the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression…Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will…invade the rights of other citizens.” — 

James Madison, Federalist No. 10

Judge: who wrote the federalist paper on calling balls and strikes? That's the one I want to read. 

Rumpole: Abner Doubleday. 


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

CALL YOUR FAVOURITE JUDGE? PHONES ARE DOWN

 The phones at the REGJB, and possibly other courthouses are DOWN...

"We are sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the number and dial again."

That is the exact recording you will get when you try and call your favourite judge at the REGJB. 

So here is our big question: 

WHO FORGOT TO PAY THE PHONE BILL? 

We can just imagine the story in El Herald: "A call to the administrative judge was not returned because we could not get through to their chambers."



Monday, October 18, 2021

PARDON THE INTERRUPTION

 There was white smoke* coming from the Wilkie Ferguson courthouse on Monday, signifying that the conclave of federal judges for the SDFL had, finally, selected a new Magistrate Judge. As the SDFL Blog reported going into the weekend, there was apparently a split among our collegial federal judges,  with the possible log jam being 5-5-5! 

On Monday after the white smoke was seen, Mr. Markus reported that YOUR new federal magistrate is Ryon McCabe, who will sit in West Palm Beach at the old, decaying courthouse that has a strong resemblance  to 1970's  Soviet-boxy style-soul-sucking  architecture. It is a courthouse where you cannot even get  decent cup of coffee (but there are plenty of cafes if you perambulate down the street a bit). 

PARDON THE INTERRUPTION

A 2017 study of the Supreme Court found that female Justices were the most frequently interrupted, by both male attorneys and their colleagues.  A 2016 study of that year's oral argument found that the top two justices that were interrupted were Sotomayor (57 times) followed by Kagan (50 times). Justice Thomas was not interrupted because, well, he didn't speak in court that term.

So is gender to blame for "justice interruptus" ? Or are Justices/judges who speak the most interrupted the most? It is hard for us to form an opinion because rather than interrupt a judge, we tend to ignore them. 

So we ask our female judges and lawyers: do you believe you are interrupted in court more often because of your gender? 

At the Supreme Court there are new rules for OA. After the lawyer's time for argument has expired the Justices, in order of seniority, are given the opportunity to ask questions. If nothing else, the new procedure has made Justice Thomas a virtual chatterbox, as he now is much more engaged at OA, for whatever that is worth. 


* For those readers and judges not steeped in the minutiae of how the Catholic Church's college of cardinals selects a new pope, they meet in a conclave in the Vatican and smoke is created after each vote. Black smoke signifies that a new pope has not been selected. When a new pope is chosen, white smoke is generated through the burning of straw and a fancy chemical cartridge. After each vote the paper ballots are also burned.  We have advocated this process for jury deliberations for decades, to no avail. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

NFL WEEK SIX 2021

 Fifteen Fourteen faithful and intrepid survivor players head into a week six that offers very few home favourites. 

The pickings are once again tricky, with most of the favourites on the road. 

The NFL's only undefeated team, the Cardinals, are getting 2.5 on the road at the mistake by the lake (Cleveland). It may be time for the birds to lose, but we don't think today is the day. Cards +2.5.

Pokes are -4 in New England where the leaves are turning and the evil genius lies, holed up in his lair, plotting doom against western civilization and the NFL. Take the Cowboys -4. In to each cheating coach's life some Dak Prescott must fall. 

Now here is a home dog we like- DA BEARS, with their rookie QB getting better each week, over the visiting Packers who are on a four game win streak. Enough is enough. The Pack returns to the mean and loses one they should win. 

KC -.65 bounces back in DC against the nameless football team who has troubles with a capital T and T rhymes with P and P stands for "putrid racist Muther'fers". 

Speaking of dysfunctional teams, take the Broncos at home -3.5 over the Raiders. The line is too small. 

The Steelers aren't good, and they are especially not good at home. But they have enough to beat the Seahawks at home -4.5 over a Seattle team without their QB. 


SURVIVOR POOL - De La Over went out  on a limb and picked the Fins in London and became the first to lose on week six as the Jags beat the Fins on a 50+ FG with no time remaining 23-20. The Fins fall to 1-5 and are now in the throes of another tough season that started with so much promise. . As we write this the game is tied in the 4th Q


week 6 by HR on Scribd

Saturday, October 16, 2021

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE

 They traverse the byways of Courthouses using restricted elevators (No Attorneys Allowed) and have a penchant for black, and feel insecure enough to have to sit elevated above everyone else (Except for the late, great Judge Jack Weinstein of the EDNY). 

The "They" we reference, are judges, and every now and then one decides to take a walk on the wild side and approach Rumpole for an interview. We decline most invitations, but accepted this one. The rules were simple- we would not edit or shorten answers, but we might decline to post an entire question and answer due to space. The final product would be approved by the Judge meaning the only negotiation was the inclusion or exclusion of a full question and answer. In this case, there were no disputes.  The Judge in question is currently a circuit court judge, but to protect their identity they refused to answer whether they had ever been a county court judge. 

R:How Long have you been a Judge?
J: More than a year, less than forever. I cannot give an exact date, which would allow my colleagues to narrow down my identity. 

R:Where have you served? 
J: Criminal, Civil, Family.   The list may or may not be inclusive for obvious reasons, and that also means I may just have substituted in one of those places for a shorter time than a full rotation. But I have enough experience in them to write about them. 

R:What  assignment did you like the best?
J: Like is not the right word. Where did I feel I had the most impact is a better question. Family.  I could hear motions and rule almost immediately on issues that directly affected real people. 

R: So I am assuming civil was not your cup of tea?
J: Not necessarily. The put-off in civil is the conveyor belt of cases all being handled the same way by the same group of attorneys. The same discovery requests. The same objections. The same rulings by the court. The same law firms suing and defending insurance companies. The built in costs of civil litigation to our society is staggering and concerning. BUT, and this is big, in a small percentage of cases the person being sued owns a small business or doesn't have insurance and the case takes on a potentially life altering outcome for them. I would look for those cases and do my best to move them along as efficiently as I could. The best I could do to help would be to bring finality sooner rather than later. I did the same for those cases where plaintiffs suffered catastrophic injuries or a loved one died. The plaintiffs, one way or another, needed an outcome to bring finality to their tragedy. The big dirty secret, which isn't a secret in civil court,  is how under staffed the system is. If you get sued today [Rumpole notes this exchange occurred in September] and your lawyer files a motion to dismiss, most judges do not have space on their calendar until January. And in this regard the legal system is failing our citizens. We need at least a half a dozen new spots in civil. Maybe more.  

R: Enough about civil. The best and worst of criminal court. 
J: The worst is easy- sentencing. It represents a failure in a human life. And it usually represents a failure in the person's family. A twenty year old who is going to prison for ten years represents a failure or breakdown of the family unit, the school system, and the absence of a support system to help them make better decisions. No child decides they want to be a thief or a drug dealer when they are growing up. I also see desperation in some people. Committing economic crimes because they do not see another way out- although my colleagues on the federal bench see that more than I do. 

Another part of the job is the mind-numbing number of violent crimes. They do not make the Herald, but there is a conveyor belt of murders and people being seriously wounded and I wonder about a society that produces such violence. I have met judges from around the world, and some countries- the Scandinavian countries come to mind-  just do not have the level of violence we have in the US. England and France do, but not nearly so much gun violence. 

The best part is two fold- when I see the system work and someone benefits from the chance PTI or probation offers. Or when I see (and this is very rare) someone exonerated. I also remember many of the victims that received closure from a case, but those memories are tempered because what brought them to the system was being victimized in the first place. But at least the system provided them justice and closure. 

I forgo to mention that the other worst part is working through the mountain of post conviction relief motions we get flooded with. I have to read the trial or plea transcript, get a response from the prosecutor and then write a detailed order usually denying the motion. What I worry about is the pro se handwritten motion that really has merit. Like, and not to get overly dramatic here, but what Clarence Gideon wrote to the Supreme Court from a Florida jail. Our system is not perfect, and some people do not belong in prison and I do not want to miss that handwritten motion that has merit. It keeps me up at night sometimes. 

I will not comment on death penalty cases because I just do not think I should. Sorry. 

R: Comment on the lawyering. 
J: Rocky waters here. First, the PDs are good to great lawyers. I always cringe when I hear a defendant say they want to hire a real lawyer, and then it gets worse when I see them show up with a lawyer who I know hasn't tried a case in over a decade. I think Miami has a great population of criminal defense attorneys who were trained as PDs or ASAs. But that is unfortunately the minority of the defense bar. There is an economics I am aware of that requires many good defense lawyers to run a "sign em and plea em" practice because that is the economics of the industry. It bothers me the same way the problems in civil court bother me. 

The prosecutors I see also run the gamut from good to great. For the most part the career prosecutors are people truly dedicated to their profession and standing up for victims and many of them are greatly skilled as trial lawyers. The problem with the SAO is simple and well known- it has become a large bureaucracy and the morale at the bottom is often quite low. I have been around long enough to remember when nearly every decision a prosecutor was asked to make was not met with "I have to obtain permission from a supervisor." That is no longer the case.  When I see a young ASA being forced to try a strong armed robbery that is really just a misdemeanor theft because a supervisor has refused to approve a reasonable plea because on some paper in their file someone wrote "vic wants max" I get very disillusioned with the system.  But the people in the system are dedicated and that gives me hope. In re-reading what I wrote let me explain that SAO supervisors will come to court. But since I have very limited options to get involved in plea negotiations without running afoul of case law, my frustrations must remain private. I work very hard to not reveal my views of the strength or weakness of a case. However I get my say at the JOA stage, as well as at sentencing and in ruling on motions. And if I do it right I can avoid a miscarriage of justice occurring. 

R: And lastly, comment on your colleagues. 
J. Ha! I knew you would ask that. I am not going to comment on personalities. Like lawyers, some judges are great, most are good to very good, and some are not so good. And for the most part we all know who the superstars are and who the laggards are. What you do not see and might not know is the number of times judges consult with each other on issues to make sure they are getting it right. There is a strong desire on the part of most of my colleagues to GET IT RIGHT and that is a good thing.  A few judges have what I would say are "concerning" or "difficult" views of what they do, and that worries me. Most, and I really mean this, most of my colleagues only have the agenda of trying to do a good job and getting it right. And that encourages me. 

R: Who reads our blog?
J: Every judge and not one judge. So that means a lot of us read it, less of us acknowledge that we read it, but we do. And btw that includes judges from around the state. I've gotten emails from Judges in Tallahassee or Jacksonville about something you have written that has made them laugh (usually this is the case) or has really gotten under their skin and they want to know how they should respond and if they should respond. But you know that, because you have their emails, because  I have been on some of those and I can tell your readers that there have been long and thoughtful email exchanges on significant legal issues and you never ever go back on your word to keep those private and this is to your credit. 

R: You get the last word.
J: This is the best job I could ever have. I should stop here. On my best days, on the best days, I am applying my skill and experience to difficult cases/issues and the matters are being fairly resolved and justice is done and when that happens I feel great because I played a part in that process. And that happens more than you acknowledge on your blog.  You like to make fun of judges and by now its just an eye-rolling process for us that read the blog. Rumpole making fun of our black robes again, being cheap, etc. But, in reading between the lines, I think you acknowledge the important role we play and that the very very vast majority of judges sought the position for the right reasons. That may not have always been the case, but it is the case now. These years on the bench have been the best of my professional life and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to use whatever skills I have to help people. Now go ahead and mock me. 

R: Nope. You said it all and you said it very well. Thank you for doing this. I took my cheap shot with the title of the post. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

A BROWARD PLEA?

UPDATE: Nikolas Cruz pled guilty to seventeen counts of first degree murder in the Parkland school shooting case. The case will now proceed to the penalty phase. 

Rumpole says: Never plead guilty. As our old bookie client Pollo Pete used to say "Never admit to nuttin". But every rule has an exception (except our rule that we no longer accept cases in Broward). From the defense standpoint, they wanted to proceed to a penalty phase without a jury having received all the evidence in the guilt phase. Short circuiting the trial appeared their best attempt at that. 

The Broward SAO (no legal geniuses they) will not be deterred and will just put all their guilt evidence on during the penalty phase.

The final analysis: the defense gains a slight edge in proceeding to a penalty phase being able to argue to the jury about having spared the shooting victims and parents a trial. It's a slight gain, but in cases like these, sometimes that's all you can get. 

Item: Anders Brievik shot and killed 69 people at a youth camp in Norway in 2011. Previously he killed 8 people with a car bomb. With conflicting psychiatric opinions about schizophrenia, he  was sentenced to a "commitment" which in Norway meant a minimum of 10 years, with a review at 21 years. His sentence can be indefinite. But Norway allows for the understanding of psychiatric illness and treatment and the possibility (ala John Hinkley which we examined in a prior post) of release. Cruz has no possibility of release other than a certain former President being elected Governor of Florida and commuting his sentence based on conspiracy theories the tragic shooting never occurred. 


 The defense world is buzzing over whether the defendant in the infamous and tragic Broward school shooting is going to plead open to the court today.

The defense strategy from day one was to offer a plea in exchange for a waiver of the death penalty. "No deal" said the Prince Of Darkness (former SA Mike Satz) who somehow remains on the case although he retired. 

The hearing is at 10-10:30 ish in Broweird. We will be monitoring it from our Peloton Bike. 

Topic for the weekend- your favoourite Peloton instructors. Hannah Frankson is ours. Jenn Sherman is second. Some guy named Rad is our favourite for strength classes. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers

 Yesterday's post speculated on why the Judges in Miami are talking. We neglected to remember that Thursday is St. Crispin's day celebrating King Henry V victory at the battle of Agincourt. That is most likely what our judges were chatting about. 

In Azincourt, in the North of France, the armies of England (Henry V) and France (Charles VI) faced off. France had the numerically superior force (the surviving lines of the day had France -6) but their King Charles VI was on injured reserve (he was psychotic) and France was led by Constable Charles d' Albret. The battle took place during the 100 Years War (and Biden thought Afghanistan was too long!) and featured the widespread use of English Longbow shooters. 

There is a lot of history associated with the battle and the war. We do not have enough room here, but suffice to say King Henry V invaded France with a claim to the throne, but in reality to settle a score and have the French recognize certain English claims set out in the Treaty of Bretigny (which is probably what our judges were chatting about yesterday). Henry V wanted land and 1.6 million Crowns (an early cryptocurrency of sorts). The French, and this is before the #metoo movement, offered King Charles' VI daughter Catherine's hand in marriage to King Henry V and 600,000 Crowns. Henry said "no dice" and took his army to France, landing on August 13, 1415.  

As September ended, the "battle season" was also ending, but Henry V surprised the French by not wintering at the English stronghold at Calais, and crossing the Somme and heading north. By the night of October 24 the English army had marched over 250 miles in 20 days. They were hungry, sick, and facing a superior French Army. 

Thus on the night of October 24, 1415, King Henry V gathered his troops, and as told by Shakespeare, gave this speech: 


If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

...

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made

And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.

...

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

And so Henry V led his band of brothers and defeated the English and forever more we remember him and his band of brothers on this day. Those Happy Few. 



Wednesday, October 13, 2021

JUDGES (mumble mumble bzzz bzzz ) ARE TALKING

 You talkin to me? You talkin to me? 

The missive went out at the speed of light earlier Wednesday to the denizens of the REGJB. "Judges are talking.

OH MY GOD! Judges....In Miami...Talking...to each other??? 

Dateline Miami: 

The nation paused and held its collective breath Wednesday morning when it was revealed that Judges in Miami-Dade County were talking to each other. Legal experts weighed in on all the cable stations "Unprecedented" (Fox); "Troubling. Uncharted waters"  (CNN); "Trump's still an idiot" (MSNBC, but that's pretty much all they say anyway").  The situation is unresolved, as it is being reported that some of the judges are STILL speaking with each other. The White House said it was monitoring the situation closely. 

What, you are asking, are our judges talking about? 

The slovenly appearance of defense attorneys on Zoom.  Apparently tank-tops and flip flops are not out of the question, but mostly its the absence of the ascot, the cravat, the lowly tie. 

In a previous post we recommended preparing for zoom like any other court hearing. Be early. Shoes shinned. Suit and tie. Ready to go.  It is just the right thing to do. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail, we like to say. 

But judges are talking. And given their primitive communication skills ("NO.  No. Sit down. I said no. Overruled. Denied". Etc.) this is never a good thing. So put on the f"ing tie, will ya? We have no desire to be dragged down to the REGJB to wait in a Delta-infected line of lawyers just to say..."Ready". 

You talkin to me? 

 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

FORMER JUDGE ARRESTED

UPDATE: MIAMI FIRES CITY OF MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT CHIEF SIX MONTHS AFTER HIRING HIM AND CALLING HIM "THE MICHAEL JORDAN OF POLICE CHIEFS "

  We broke the story yesterday, on Twitter (@justicebuilding) to ace Herald Scribe @Davidovalle305 who wrote the story and graciously gave us credit for our scoop. 

The sordid details of a Miami condo/neighbor hating neighbor contretemps that naturally ended with a gun being pulled (this is Miami after all) are listed on the blog post yesterday.

"Hey, I left my phone in my cousin's apartment. Can you let me back in?"

MM:  (pulls out firearm) "Go ahead punk, I know what you're thinking. Did I fire five shots or six. So, are you feeling lucky? Go ahead, try and get back into the condo and make my day.  

The question we have today is ...who had a worse Monday? The former judge who was arrested, or former Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden who was fired after a trove of racist, sexist and homophobic emails that would not be tolerated anywhere except in POTUS 45's White House, were released. 

Before the NY Times published the story about the numerous offensive emails, we were pondering what should be the response to the one racist email where Gruden referred to the head of the NFL player's union, who is an African American man, with a very offensive racist trope. 

Are things that bad? Can someone not like a man, and say why he doesn't like him without making reference to hundred year old offensive racial stereotypes? Are we that blind to racism that we never see things like this, and are shocked when they are revealed? Meanwhile the comments from many African American men were that they were not surprised to see a man referred to that way. And yet  we were shocked. 

It is troubling to think about how much we are missing. 

Speaking of racist tropes, City of Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo, who was hired as the Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods of Police Chiefs, WAS FIRED ON TUESDAY MORNING is about to be suspended and fired because of a rant he made about the City of Miami Police Department being run by the "Cuban Mafia." 

There's a Cuban Mafia? Are they bigger that US Steel (GFII reference). What's Spanish for Cosa Nostra

We are soooo out of the loop. 

Here are the lessons from this weekend.  Treat everyone as you would want to be treated, including a person who has been locked out of a condo without his phone and needs to get back in for a moment. And our advice to the former judge? Simple......

Leave the gun, take the pastelitos. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

TOP 100 SONGS

BREAKING Former Judge Mike Mirabal, who resigned in disgrace facing a massive Bar/JQC  complaint, was arrested last  night for aggravated assault with a firearm involving s dispute with a tenant. F21-017688. This is a breaking story. 

UPDATE2: Based on our tip, ace Herald scribe David Ovalle went to work. Here is his article.

In keeping with the overall theme of this post, Mirabal, when contacted for comment referred everyone to what he said was his favorite all time song: Billy Joel's I Am An Innocent Man. (Not really, but still...)

From the article: 

This is what happened, according to an arrest report: Mirabal was unloading groceries Sunday evening, with his dog, in the parking garage of his building on Orduna Drive. A man — the cousin of a resident in the complex — was on the other side of the garage gate, asking if he could be let in.

The man had left his phone upstairs in his cousin’s apartment. Mirabal refused because the man wasn’t a resident, and the two got into a heated argument, the report said. The man began yelling for his cousin to come downstairs and get him. The neighbor came down and let his cousin inside the parking garage, and they again encountered Mirabal. Mirabal’s neighbor told police he went to talk to Mirabal, who “pulled out a black gun with his right hand, points it at him and with his left hand pulls the slide of the weapon back twice. The victim says he steps back and begins calling police going back to his apartment,” according to the report. Mirabal, however, claimed the neighbor’s cousin had been threatening “he would fight him,” forcing him to pull out his gun, which he only held it behind his back. “He says he advised the witness that he is armed, and the witness stepped back and leaves,” the report said. Coral Gables police arrested Mirabal after saying 911 calls contradicted his version of what happened. After being booked in jail, he posted bond and was released.

TOP 100 SONGS 

Sometimes the so called experts get it wrong. That's where Rumpole steps in. Jack of all trades, and master of many, we have superior insight not just on cross examination techniques, but cosmology, where to eat, and in today's case, the top songs of all time, and we have a heavy bent towards rock and soul. 

Rolling Stone Magazine listed the top 100, and beyond the shocking insult of not listing the very best rock song of all time in the top 10, they pretty much got it wrong. We will not do all 100- our top 20 is enough to prove our point, and we will include Rolling Stone's choices in those slots so you can compare. 

Feel free to weigh in.  We have a feeling this will generate some discussion. 


RUMPOLE                                        ROLLING STONE 

20 Johnny B Goode                          20 Dancing On My Own 
(The first rock n roll hit)

19 My Girl                                      19 Imagine  (Genius- needs to be higher)

18 Purple Rain                                 18 Purple Rain (We can live with this)

17 Tiny Dancer                                17 Bohemian Rhapsody (Ground breaking. In our top 40                                                               but not top 20)

16 Good Vibrations                         16 Crazy In Love (not for us ) 

15 Blowin In The Wind                   15 I Want to Hold Your Hand (Beatles yes. This song.                                                                     No)

14 One (U2)                                   14 Waterloo Sunset (doesn't make our top 50)

13 I can't get no Satisfaction          13 Gimme Shelter (there are better Stones Songs)           (a better song) 

12 Like a Heatwave                       12 Superstition (A hard song to rank)

11 Like a Rollin Stone                    11 God Only Knows (Pure Genius. We rank it higher)

10 Imagine                                      10 Hey Ya. (Never heard it).

9  Thunder Road                               9 Dreams (A top 10? You must be dreaming!)           (The most poetic rock n roll song ever written:                                                                        "You can hide neath your covers and study your pain.                                                         Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain.                                                       Wait your summer prayin in vain for a savior to rise from these streets")

8  Stairway to Heaven                      8 Get ur Freak On. (Get outta here). 

7 Baby I Need Your Lovin               7 Strawberry Fields (This is tough to rank)

6  Get Up Stand Up                           6 What's Going On. (Brilliant Song We have it higher)

5 Let it Be                                          5 Smells Like Teen Spirit (Smells like an awful choice)

4  What's Going On                          4 Like a Rolling Stone (Can't argue with Dylan in the                                                                 top 5)

3  Be My Baby                                 3 A Change is Gonna Come (Too high. Sorry).

2  God Only Knows                          2 Fight the Power (Fight the ranking. Too high)

                                                            1. Respect (This choice gets no respect).

God Only Knows is the pure genius of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. It's real hard, but it slightly beats out Be My Baby. 

THE GREATEST ROCK N ROLL SONG OF ALL TIME

There is no comparison. It's Bruce Springsteen's four and a half minutes of pure magic and genius about love and escape  on the New Jersey Turnpike. Four and a half minutes took over four months to record. The Big Man Clarence Clemons' sax solo, the hammering beat of Boom Carter on the drums,  and then a keyboard ramp-up that precedes the greatest pause and then release of rock ecstasy known to music...  "1....2.....3......Highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. Everybodys out on the road tonight, but there's no place left to hide." Life does not get any better than that pure genius, 

It's more than a death trap and a suicide rap; it's more than a love letter to Wendy; its the rock n roll answer to the question "I wanna know if love is wild, I wanna know if love is real!" 

BORN TO RUN is  the greatest rock n roll song of all time. 

Music Critic Robert Christgau noted that it was all Be My Baby was and wanted to be, and more. It was more than the Phil Spector Wall of Sound. It was innovational, inspirational, and an invitation to lose yourself in all of the music and words. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

NFL WEEK FIVE 2021

BREAKING NEWS: Former Judge Mike Mirabal, who resigned in disgrace facing a massive bar/JQC investigation, was arrested Sunday evening, for aggravated assault with a firearm in a dispute with a tenant. Case number F21-017688. This is a developing story. 


 The big story last week was the FG total in the MNF game. If you could pick the total, you won an advantage in the survivor pool that saw six people crash out for choosing a losing team. Our players, many of them legal savants, used sophisticated computer analysis, historical outcomes, intuition, pulling numbers out of a hat, and yet NO ONE picked ZERO as the number of made field goals in the game. No one won an advantage of being able to use a team they had previously picked, and 15 survivors march on. This week's most popular pick is the Vikings over the hapless Lions. 

This is a tough week picks wise. Nothing much jumps out at us. Soooo.....Time for teasers! A teaser allows us to move the line. If we choose a seven point teaser, we need to  lay 140 to win 100. So for example the Tampa Bradys are 10.5 favourites over our Fins. Tease that down to -3.5 and take the Bradys or tease it up to 17.5 and take the Fins and give your guy 140 to win 100. It's seems so easy, and yet they are sucker bets. But we feel like a lollipop today so why not? 

Packers at Bengals. The over is 49.5. Tease that down to 42.5 and take the over for some Cincy Queens chili. (WIN/loss without the teaser).

Cheaters at Texans. Evil Genius vs. a rookie QB.  Cheaters are favored by -9. Tease that to -2 and take the bad man from New England's team.  (WIN/loss without the teaser).

Here's our big one. Colts +7 at Ravens. Colts played well above their abilities against a Miami football team having a bad week last week. Tease the line to even and tease the over 46 to 39 and take the Ravens at home over 39- in  this scenario we need to win both the line and the game to collect from 52nd  Street Irving's (RIP old buddy) successor- Brooklyn Billy.  

Want to know the ridiculous problems with sports betting in the US? Read this NY Times story. On-line sports betting is legal in the Garden State- New Jersey. It is illegal in New York. So the solution for denizens of Manhattan is to ride their bike or jog partially over the George Washington Bridge until their phone pings they are in New Jersey (about a mile and a half from the NY side) at which point they can bet. Imagine how much revenue NY is losing while the state, which approved on line sports betting, dithers over who to chose to take their citizen's bets- which keeps Brooklyn Billy in business for a little while longer. 

In London, where as we write this the hapless Jets are getting beat by the Falcons, any Punter* can walk outside any pub after getting an British Fry-up breakfast and into any bookie and make a bet, and somehow England has managed to survive for hundreds of years without society collapsing in a heap of sin. 

SURVIVOR POOL COMING SHORTLY


week 5 by HR on Scribd


* British slang for a bettor. 

Coming Monday. Rolling Stone has the top 100 rock and roll songs of all time. Boy did they get it wrong. We will correct them. 

Friday, October 08, 2021

AN AGE OLD RIDDLE

 Why did the chicken* cross the road? 



To get to Federal Court of course!

So here are some captions/tag lines that come to mind: 

"This is a chickensh$t case..."

"Don't you hate it when clients are late for court?"

"He's obviously afraid to go to court..." 

Add your own. Don't chicken out. 

Happy Friday. It's a long weekend. State Courts (in Miami) and Fed courts are closed. 


* Yeah, we know its a rooster. Just play along. 


Wednesday, October 06, 2021

B O R I N G: A REVIEW OF THE BOOK PERIL

 You are not in peril if you do not spend the price of three Starbuck's coffees and do not download Bob Woodward's new book Peril to your kindle. Do not buy it. We are going to use a technical legal term here- it sucks. Unless that is, you are interested on reading on and on and on about President Biden's budget negotiations over a Covid aid package and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin's demands the bill have a $300.00 and not $400.00 cap on unemployment payments (spoiler alert: At one point Manchin, a democrat, was so upset with the Biden white house he said "they can kiss my ass." Double spoiler alert- the bill is passed). Want to know how much President Biden agonized over the decision to remove all troops from Afghanistan? (Spoiler alert- some, but maybe not as much as you might think) then maybe you will like this book. 

Chairman Miley of the Joint Chiefs of Staff gets a lot of play (spoiler alert- he thinks Trump is "batshit crazy) and the normal craziness of the Trump WH is covered, but nothing ground breaking, as other books have covered this- earlier and better. 

The writing stinks. It is short and clipped- for example: Trump was irate. Don't worry Giuliani and others assured him, we still have another play. 

Mike Pence. 

That's how it plays out on the page. The space. The new line. The name of the VP. 

To repeat- the book breaks no new ground, The writing is weak. During two unprecedented years in our nation's history, Woodward has somehow stumbled on the boring stuff.  Woodward is trading on his good name. 

If you want to read the really good books on the dysfunction of Trump in his last years, try "I Alone Can Fix It" by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonning and Philip Rucker and/or Landside, by Michael Woolf, who has other books on the Trump era, including Fire and Fury and Siege. Each of these books (I Alone Can Fix It and Landslide)  provide excellent insight to the Trump response to the pandemic (weak, disbelieving, and disheveled) and his defense of his second impeachment (unbelievably dysfunctional). 

Read Peril at your own peril. 


Tuesday, October 05, 2021

TWEET TWEET

 DOM'S  blog covers his never ending obsession with pro se litigant Fane Lozman who, like DOM, continually beats the government. Birds of a feather flock together. 

Somehow (we think) that everyone's favourite federal blogger missed this little lawsuit: 

Lets play a game:

Which ex-president has filed a lawsuit in the SDFL to force Twitter to give him back his account:

[ ]  Benjamin Harrison (account @potusyouknowleastabout)

[ ] D.J. Trump 

[ ] Hillary Clinton (trick answer. She wasn't the president in our little sting of the universe. Hopefully in other universe string realities she is finishing her second term. 

Which current SDFL US District Court has this little gem of a lawsuit?

[ ] Judge Moore, who immediately issued a pre-trial order denying all continuances?

[ ] Judge Singhal, who Trump thinks owes him? 

[ ] Judge Scola, who clearly has better things to do than this headache? 

(It's Judge Scola!)

There are eight (count em, uno-ocho) lawyers who have signed off on this lawsuit, most likely to spread the costs of frivolous lawsuit sanctions ( we are making NO judgment about this lawsuit, merely commenting that lately, lawyers who have represented the former president, albeit in a elections lawsuit context, tend to get sanctioned), but the most interesting thing is that this clown of a former president has hired a law firm with a named partner of ....(wait for it) 

BARNUM!

We kid you not. 

Here is the lawsuit...enjoy  

Twitter Lawsuit by HR on Scribd

Monday, October 04, 2021

MNF SURVIVOR EXTRA

 All the surviving players (and we lost six on Sunday) have sent in their guess for the number of field goals in tonight's game. 3,4, and 5 are the popular guesses. The winner(s) have to hit the number exactly. Closest to the number will NOT win. If there are any winners, they will have the option of using one team in an upcoming week that they have already used. The rules of the survivor pool are that you merely need to pick one NFL team that will win each week. No spread, no odds, a simple winner is all you have to select. The only other wrinkle is that once you select that team you cannot use it again in subsequent weeks. We also have bye weeks. Everyone has one. Shumie won a second bye week, but crapped out yesterday having used only one. The winner(s) of tonight contest get the opportunity to use one of the teams they have already selected in an upcoming week of their choice. A slight, but not insignificant advantage where sometimes the difference between a winner and a loser is a 55 yard field goal with time expiring. 

Here are the selections for this evening. 

Week 4 Picks Final by HR on Scribd

 
  Have we mentioned that in week three Judge De La O got the most points in our REGJB fantasy football league? Just checking.

You can also scroll back to the earlier post today and read all about the first Monday in October and the Supreme Court. 

FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER 2021

 Today is the first Monday in October, which causes certain legal wonks to nerd out on the traditional first day of the Supreme Court's term. 

First up will be the eight members on the bench, as Justice Kavanaugh may have had a few two many brewskis close up, and caught Covid and will not be in Court. However this year will see the return of in court arguments and masks. 

Up this year on the docket is Mississippi's challenge to Roe v. Wade ("y'all got it wrong"). Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization 19-1392. Interestingly, the Court last heard in person arguments 18 months ago. The case was a challenge to a Louisiana law that restricted abortions. A 5 justice majority, including Justice Ginsberg and CJ Roberts, struck down the law. A lot has changed since then. 

Our Gang. Alfalfa, Spanky, Darla, Porky and the rest.  

There is a gun case - NY State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, that examines the constitutionality of NY State's strict regulations on the carrying of guns outside of the home. There is a Guantanamo case about whether a detainee can get information on two CIA officers who tortured him (US v. Abu Zudaydah); and there are two death penalty cases. In US v. Tsarnaev, the Court will review the second circuit's decision tossing the death penalty in the Boston Marathon Bomber's case. In Ramiez v Collier the Court will hear the request of Texas death row inmate John Ramirez that his pastor be allowed to touch him while he is being executed. Really? This is what the Court thinks they need to devote time to? 

But it all comes down to Mississippi and the challenge to Roe. That is what the 2021- 2022 term will be forever known for. 

And we will be watching. 

Sunday, October 03, 2021

NFL WEEK 4 2021

UPDATE: SIX FALL IN SURVIVOR POOL as Saints and Titans betray the faith our players placed in them. Shumie, Weisman and the Crime Dog are all out, as well as Alan Kaiser, Jason Ireland, and Juan Gonzalez. We bid them adieu.  

Fall is in the air, temperatures across the nation as dipping into the low 80s in this era of global warming, and as the baseball season wraps up another regular season, we are all in on football as the Marlins are out of the playoffs. 

Last week, in our fantasy football league, we routed our opponent and were on track to score the most points in the league, but like writing an order denying a well pled motion to suppress, Judge De La O ruined our week by managing the top scoring team (172 points to our 165). His "De La Fins" are 2-1 and he is off to a solid start. 

Our top pick this week is our hometown Dolphins, playing the hapless Colts, in North Miami (look for Rumpole in one of the suites, sipping a cold one, and having some King Crab legs while enjoying the game).  Miami -1.5 to have a big day. The Fins lost a close one in OT last week in Vegas, but what we saw was a team superbly coached, that believes in each other, and does not quit. There are big things ahead for this Dolphin team, mark our words. 

Giants at the Big Easy. The Giants stink. They are on the clock for the first pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Saints -7.5 and they will be up by 14 at the half. 

KC at Philly. Under 55.  Titans at Jets. Under 46. 

Panthers at Cowpokes. Sort of, kind of, maybe in a way, beginning to believe that the Cowboys have a decent team. We like the Panthers coach and the job he has done. But the skinny -4 is tempting us to put a few hard earn dollars on the Boys from Dallas. 

NEW SURVIROR CHALLENGE-  Pick the total number of field goals in the MNF Raiders/Chargers game and get to use of of the teams you have already picked.  Players Colby, Freedman,  Faber, Tischler and Tibbitt survived a Thursday night scare with the Bengals and are already week four survivors. 


Week 4 Picks by HR on Scribd

Thursday, September 30, 2021

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR IMPROVEMENT

 UPDATE: DOM SAYS "WAHOO!' You know he must be really happy. Check out his blog. 

As September ends, we have some random thoughts for improvement of our court system and the practices and procedures. 

CERTIFICATES OF SERVICE: The feds have done away with certificates of service because the CMECF e-filing receipt is the official notice of service. It is time for the State to do the same thing. "It's over Johnny."

POSTING CASH/10% BONDS IN FEDERAL COURT is a total hassle.  "Abandon hope all ye who wish to post ten percent bonds" should be the sign on the clerk's office. We can communicate with multiple landers on Mars and the Lander can Tweet and post on Instagram, but the clerk's office Cashier in the Ferguson building has NO ability to communicate with the Magistrate section of the clerk's office in the Atkins building (other than by Morse code by leaning out a window and blinking a light across the street) and therefore to post a bond that requires posting a 10% fee with the clerk, the attorney spends the better part of the afternoon crossing and re-crossing the street, chatting with the screeners who often say "you're back again?" as the attorney makes their fourth trip between the clerk's offices because one clerk has realized that in the 75 pages of bond paperwork the defendant's name on page 43 contained the middle initial of "L" instead of "E" and everything has to be redone. 

"Can you email the receipt  to your office across the street showing that I paid the bond?" is met with incredulity, laughter,  and a remark like "this is the federal government. We can read your license plate from space, but we cannot email a receipt across the street you idiot." 

Lets fix this CJ Altonaga. Be known as the "The Chief Judge Who Made Posting  10% Bonds Easier." It's not a bad moniker. 

ZOOM IDS: Can the feds post the Zoom Ids on a website, or is that a national security issue? Half the FACDL listserv emails are "Can anyone give me the zoom ID for the 2PM Mag court in Fort Lauderdale?" 

What do you think is wrong with the court systems (other than the apparitions that hover above it all)? 

UPDATE: A PERSON WRITES:

Hey at least Judge Sayfie did away with the 3 certified copies from the 9th floor, to the 6th floor corrections office, back to the judge to fix one word corrections didn't like in the order, back to 9th floor, finally back to 6th floor mary-go-round needed to get someone house arrest. Give credit where credit is due.

Friday, October 01, 2021 9:42:00 AM

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

THAT'S CRAZY

 On March 30 1981, John Hinckley, Jr., shot President Reagan, Press Secretary James Brady, Police Officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy. While the attempted assassination had wide ranging effects, perhaps the greatest and unexpected effect was on the US criminal legal system. 



The entire world saw Hinckley shoot the President, and yet, after a trial he was found  not guilty by reason of insanity. The verdict so inflamed the public that the insanity defense was forever altered, depriving thousands of mentally ill defendants of a traditional defense. 

After the Hinckley verdict, the insanity defense was changed by Congress and most states  after 85% of the American public opined that justice was not done in the Hinckley trial. The changes to the insanity defense included shifting the burden to the defendant, and raising the standard of proof so that now insanity meant suffering from a severe mental disease such that the defendant could not appreciate the nature and quality of the wrongfulness of his or her acts. In other words, if a defendant heard voices telling her to kill, so long as she knew the killing was wrong, she was not insane no matter what the voices told her to do.  Insanity was no longer just about the inability to form intent, it now meant that it had to be a total lack of understanding the nature and result of the actus reus. 

After the Hinckley case, insanity was nearly impossible to prove. The changes in the insanity law illustrate one of the most glaring examples of law being changed by public out cry and not sound policy. Insanity was nearly abolished to placate the American public who could not understand how Hinckley was acquitted.

 Rumpole's Rule #5: Bad trial facts  make bad law. 

In 1999 Hinckley was allowed to leave the hospital for supervised visits with his parents. In 2009 Hinckley was allowed to stay at his parents home for up to ten days at a time. In 2016 Hinckley was ordered released from the hospital because a judge agreed he no longer presented a danger to himself or others. In the last week, a Judge- with the consent of the Department of Justice-  ordered that within nine months all supervision of Hinckley will end. He will be a free man. 

In 2021 it is impossible to imagine a person shooting four people and receiving a sentence that does not include a mandatory life incarceration. And yet, for all the difficulties the Hinckley case has caused the criminal justice system and defendants, the final outcome shows that there is a much needed and absent concept of healing and redemption that is currently unthinkable (and nearly unobtainable) today . 

Rather than simply saying Hinckley's actions in shooting four people and killing one (James Brady died of his wounds 33 years later and his death was ruled a homicide) were inexcusable, they were all too excusable. Hinckley was a very sick and dangerous young man. But once hospitalized and treated, he was able to get better. He does not and did not deserve life in prison because the law in 1981 was such that since Hinckley was mentally ill, he was not capable of forming the criminal intent necessary to commit what we in Florida call attempted first degree murder. 

Unfortunately the result in the Hinckley case will remain one of the last of its kind. Any such act today would result in a life incarceration no matter how sick the defendant- because after the Hinckley case it is nearly impossible to prove insanity. And that is crazy. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

MISCELLANEOUS MONDAY

 We bounced back in the NFL yesterday, winning our picks, surviving another week in the survivor pool, and scoring the most points in our Fantasy Football week after a disappointing 0-2 start. 

Speaking of the NFL, how many years has it been that the Washington football team has not been able to choose a name? How hard can it be? Nothing racist, nothing offensive... just choose a name. The Washington Gridlocks; the Washington Potomacs;  the Washington Monuments; the Washington budget deficits; the Washington Taxes; The Washington Filibusters; The Washington Whips (our favourite); just pick a name please. 

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS ZEBRA? 


He's on the loose in Maryland and cannot be caught.  He's actually one of a few Zebras on the loose in Maryland. Query: what do you call a group of Zebras? A Dazzle. Yes, that's right. A Dazzle of Zebras are on the loose in Maryland. 


HOLD THE MAYO 

Speaking of being on the loose, the US Department of State just upped the bounty to fifteen million dollars for Mexican Sinaloa Cartel Boss "El Mayo" Zambada.  El Mayo is 73 years old, a former partner of El Chapo, who is residing in Colorado these days, and is rumored to like his turkey sandwiches on rye with...mayo.