WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, AND THE POPE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Sunday, January 31, 2021

THREE STEPS FORWARD

 And two steps back....That is the clearest view of humanity's battle against the Covid 19 virus. We will prevail, but as the virus mutates, the battle will be longer and harder than we have admitted to ourselves. 

The two new vaccines, with a third on the way shortly,  are not the end of battle. They are not the beginning of the end.  British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill said in a speech in November 1942 when the British defeated the Germans and General Rommel at El Alamein, that the victory was "not the end. It is not the beginning of the end. It is perhaps the end of the beginning."  Churchill was preparing the British public for a long war. A war he had neither flagged nor failed in believing his small island nation would win. But Churchill knew there were many more difficult days ahead.  England was still standing alone; bloodied, battered, but unbowed. 

Covid 19 is mutating and the mutations are negating some of the advantages of the vaccines. That is the bad news. The good news is that the virus cannot mutate indefinitely. The act of mutations will, in and of itself, burn the virus out. The additional good news is that the vaccines will stop most infections. When a person is not infected by an older strain of the virus, the virus loses a chance to find a host and mutate. When that happens enough, the virus dies. But until then, our enemy survives. The troubling variant, E4A4K, which is emerging in South Africa and Brazil, appears to bind easier to human receptor cells AND eludes the antibodies produced by natural infection or vaccines. 

So we have a long, hard battle ahead of us. And that brings us to the legions of robed readers, wandering empty halls of courthouses, their footsteps echoing off of walls and ceilings that used to absorb the noises of loud objections, thundering cross examinations, quiet and meek pleas for mercy, and bored jurors looking to get out of service. We imagine them staring wistfully at empty jury boxes and quietly humming "When will I see you again?" 

The answer is "not very soon your honor." 

We cannot and should not be opening the state courthouses in March when the CDC is predicting that the new and more virulent virus strains will be the dominant strains in the United States. We should not be opening the federal courthouse for jury trials in April. We need patience. We need  50%, 60%* and beyond of Floridians to have been vaccinated. We need  the R rate way below 1 and we need to see that the number of new infections state wide is less than a hundred a day. Only then, when the virus is on the ropes can we attack and win- the way new Commander Bernard Law Montgomery deceived (Operation Bertram)*  and out manoeuvred General Rommel until the time was right to press the attack (Operation Lightfoot). *

WWI ended at 11am on 11/11. At 10:59 am, US Solider Henry Gunther-bayonet fixed-  attacked a German machine gun emplacement and became the last American solider to die in the war.* No one wants to be the Henry Gunther of Covid when a vaccine and cure is right around the corner. 

* It is generally accepted that a herd immunity of +75% is needed to kill a virus and stop a pandemic. With Covid mutations diminishing the effectiveness of current vaccines, it is postulated that we will need a herd immunity of 85% to end Covid. So lets roll up our sleeves and get jabbed. 

* All warfare is based on deception. Sun Zu, the Art of War. In the weeks leading up to the final battle, the British scattered fake camps, fake tanks, fake ammo dumps with camouflage throughout the dessert in front of the German lines so as to confuse their enemy where they were and where the attack would occur. 

* When General Montgomery ordered the attack, the 24th Australian Brigade shelled the 15th Panzer division for a few minutes. Then, in a brilliant coordinated artillery attack, 1000 guns launched an attacked across a 40 mile front. Then Montgomery sent in four infantry divisions. The soldiers would not trip the anti-tank mines because they were not heavy enough. Artillery supported the infantry as engineers cleared the minefields and the infantry called in the coordinates. Then Montgomery sent a three pronged-pincer  attacked, with the 7th Armoured division and the Free French Brigade attacking the German lines from the South, while on the right flank the 44th 131st Infantry Division and 131st Infantry Brigade pressed the attack. The Germans fought hard and were disciplined. The mine fields were deeper than expected and took more time to clear.  

There is so much more to the second battle of El Almein and perhaps this fall, 78 years after the famous battle, we will write more about it. 

* Gunther's story is fascinating. A few months earlier, after he sent a dispiriting letter home criticizing the war, he was  demoted from sergeant to private as the letter was read by censors and his feelings were reported to his superiors. The demotion crushed him, and he spent the remaining months of the war trying to prove his loyalty. On the morning of November 11, the Germans knew of the pending armistice. It is unknown if Gunther's unit was aware the war was about to end. There are conflicting reports about what the Allies knew. When Gunther charged,  the Germans yelled at waved at him to go back. They fired shots over his head. Undeterred, Gunther continued his charge with his bayonet fixed, eventually forcing the Germans to open up with their machine gun and kill Gunther. 


Friday, January 29, 2021

JOHNSON AND JOHNSON NEWS

 "We are all worms. However, I do believe I am a glow-worm".  Winston Spencer Churchill. on humanity's  morality and his. 

JNJ reported on their vaccine today. Overall 72% effective in reducing mortality and severe Covid infections in the US,  66% in Latin America, and 57% in Afirca. The efficacy rate  is below the magic 95% number of Pfizer and Moderna.  The real number is in the details, so pay attention.  Pfizer and Moderna did not test overseas and did not test during the spread of the new Covid variants.  We do not have much data on how effective their vaccines are in the current and rapidly changing enviroment. 

The OVERALL effective rate for the JnJ jab  in preventing infection is 85%, well above the CDC guidelines for approval of any vaccine. The number is also 85% worldwide in preventing severe disease that requires hospitalization. 

What to make of this? It is good news. It is a one shot vaccine in which one billion doses can be distributed and injected in 2021. One billion doses. It does not need to be chilled below normal refrigeration.  It is a game changer. The vaccine appears to INCREASE immunity over time due to the operation of certain cellular biology that you dear reader, do not need to be bored with. 

JnJ will be filing an EUA (emergency use authorization) with the FDA next week. The phase three results on a two-dose regimen, which may well approach or exceed 95% will be released within the next two week. 

What we know about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from Israel where 40% of the population has been vaccinated is that the first round of numbers show a protection rate approaching 99%. For example in one population study of over 200,000 people, less than 20 contracted Covid. The point is that as the JnJ vaccine is released and data from hundreds of thousands of people is analyzed, the efficacy rate will rise, if for no other reason that as more and more of the population is vaccinated or recovers from an infection the R transmission rate will continue to fall below that all important 1 number, meaning for every person infected, less than one person gets the disease from that new infection. This is how pandemics burn out. 

Rumpole says, if you are offered the JnJ vaccine, TAKE IT. Please. If we get the JnJ vaccine, we will be ready to try our backlog of cases the following week (wearing a mask). We will take 75% protection, and wearing a mask that is 95% effective, in a world where most of the people we come into contact with are either vaccinated, have immunity from a prior infection, or both. The news is good once we get a better roll-out. 

We have some thoughts about US Congress representatives who advocate shooting and killing other members of the House and who harass children who survived school shootings. That will come shortly after we finish our legal obligations for the day. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

AN REGJB LEGEND REVISITED

 We were perusing the older blog posts, and a favourite one, which we should update is the "what ever happened to?" blog post (click the link to see it- the comments are great). 

We will run a new one, so please email us or post who you want us to inquire about. However no legend will beat out this one, which is a top REGJB story retold by retired Judge Lenny Glick who saw it all. 

The Legend in question is one Mr. Frank Joyce "esq" a distinguished alumnus of the Miami Dade SAO, and former Chief Of County Court:  Judge Glick will take it from here:

Frank Joyce.?.?.?...........

1973, I am an in my second year at the State Attorneys Office assigned to the Magistrate Division,(Six County Court Judges, 2 ASA'S and 2 APD'S per Court doing the equivalent of adversary preliminary hearings...all day, every day of the work week). 

In comes a"newbie" assigned to me to be trained and then work in the division. Bar none the fastest learner, did a great job and was on his way up the ladder. After Magistrate Court he was promoted to Chief of County Court. Only trouble is they found out he was not a lawyer. Went to one semester of law school and that was it.
He was outed by a disgruntled Fish and Wildlife officer who went to the Fla. Bar and wanted to file a complaint. The Bar said Frank who????. The rest is history. Believe it or not he was never prosecuted for Unauthorized Practice of Law.
Whereabouts unknown
TRY THE SURGICAL UNIT AT J.M.H.
......Paging Dr. Joyce......

Rumpole says there is actually a M*A*S*H episode with a similar story line about a surgeon assigned to the unit who was top-notch except that he was not a doctor.  REGJB truth is stranger than fiction. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

JUST WHAT WE NEED

 Longtime and careful readers of this blog know our abhorrence for minimum mandatory prison sentences. Let us explain in detail why. 

The State of Florida, unlike the feds, vests the entire power in seeking and imposing  a minimum mandatory sentence in the prosecutor. This means that when faced with a decision about what is an appropriate sentence for a defendant who has pled guilty or been found guilty after a jury trial (which we have been told occurs, but we do not have much experience with this outcome) the legislature, in all their collective wisdom, has decided that the 25 year old prosecutor has more experience, wisdom, judgment, and fairness to decide the fate of the defendant and not the learned judge. 

Minimum mandatory prison sentences are, in the final analysis, a slap in the face of the judiciary (which is not something we are usually opposed to, but politics makes strange bedfellows). 

Which brings us to this new(ish) minimum mandatory, which is (sarcasm coming) well needed. Thank goodness the legislature decided to send these criminals to jail for ten days. In the middle of a pandemic, this is just what we need. 

DRIVING WHILE LICENSED SUSPENDED 322.34 FSS (Florida's Stupid Statutes): 

2. A person convicted of a third or subsequent conviction, except as provided in paragraph (c), must serve a minimum of 10 days in jail.

Because we know that there is no racial bias in the enforcement of misdemeanors in general and driving while license suspended statutes in particular. 

From the American Constitutional Society Paper on the discriminatory enforcement of driver's license statutes: 

More than seven million Americans have lost their driver’s licenses for nonpayment of a ticket or fine.[2] For many lower-income community members in 21st century America, a driver’s license is critical for everyday life tasks like getting to work, childcare or a child’s school, doctor’s appointments (especially vital for senior citizens), and transporting heavy groceries. Most people who are not able to afford to pay their fines, therefore, just keep driving.[3] When a person driving with a suspended license is stopped by law enforcement, they typically get a ticket, may be subjected to more fines, and may even be arrested and end up in prison. Their inability to pay that original fine—their poverty—is, in effect, criminalized.

National awareness of governments’ use of fines and fees to extract revenue from low-income, predominantly African-American residents has risen substantially since the protests and violent conflict that followed the 2014 killing of Michael Brown by the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department. Here was an object lesson in state and local governmental power to perpetuate and criminalize poverty. After the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigated police and court practices in Ferguson, it released a report describing how citizens get trapped in a double helix of poverty and punishment. Initial fines and fees quickly and automatically trigger more monetary penalties, a suspended driver’s license (with more penalties imposed for driving on a suspended license), mandatory court appearances (with more penalties levied for missing those hearings), and, almost inevitably, criminal penalties. The City of Ferguson’s “focus on revenue rather than . . . public safety needs,” the report found, led to “procedures that raise due process concerns and inflict unnecessary harm,” including the suspension of driver’s licenses for unpaid debts, followed oftentimes by an arrest for driving without a license

COMING SOON: Florida's New Lifetime Mandatory Sentence for medical marijuana- "getting sick is the least of your problems." 

Monday, January 25, 2021

WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN?

 Item: The music from the 1970's is the best. Period. We will not entertain any additional motions for rehearing or reconsideration. 

We were listening to Sirius/XM's 70s on 7, as is out wont on Sunday, when we heard the familiar first notes from The Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again?" hit,  and we began to wonder which of our favourite judges in the REGJB are humming that same tune? 

When should trials begin again? (As Judges Soto and Sayfie reach for their shot glasses, as they have had their fill of us on this point,  we press on). 

Initially, March seemed like a good target date. But then the feds screwed up the vaccine distribution. Actually that's not true. The feds had NO plan for vaccine distribution until we got POTUS46 and now they are admirably scrambling to come up with something. They are even scrapping the bottom of the proverbial barrel with the FDA's approval of the use of a special syringe to wring a sixth shot out of the vial of five doses (for which Pfizer, which negotiated a per dose charge with the feds, immediately sought to renegotiate their payments for six doses per vial, not five. What are civil lawyers for if not to get an additional 20% for their client out of a deal?). 

Then the virus mutations became troubling. The virus is now more contagious. Just ask anyone in California. The new and more contagious British strain  may also, as per British PM Johnson, be more than 30% more deadly. President Biden has warned and intoned that our darkest virus days are before us. 

This is no time to say "enough" and ask trial lawyers to emerge from their den of virus hibernation and stand up on their hind legs and wobble into court Ursine-like. 

It is always  darkest before the dawn, and we humbly suggest to our chief judges, state and federal alike, that it is wise to wait just a wee bit more. Let the lawyers and judges and clerks and officers and court reporters and jurors get their two vaccines. We still need to socially distance (best thing about covid-19 is that we can now claim social distancing and never be in close proximity to a black robe again) and wear masks, but once we are jabbed, let's pick six.  That next "not guilty" may well be the sweetest, but aren't they all wonderful? Does not a rose by any other name smell as sweet my dear Montague? 

Until we are all safely jabbed, renew your Netflix (the new HBO Max is great!) , stay home a bit more,  and send us the bill, and enjoy the song. 

(We  will do a little talk up for ya..... That was "Car Wash" coming at ya on WIOD the wonderful isle of dreams. It's a beautiful day in Miami, the Magic City, and at 11:07 in the morning, it's not only 77 degrees going to a high of 80, but it's The Three Degrees and When Will I See You Again? [guaranteed we would have hit the post] ).  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

 It's a new year. A new administration. We have new vaccines. The Virus has new strains. It is all new and mostly good. 

So why is Tom Brady back for his attempt to appear in his 53rd straight super bowl? And his opponent is Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers who career is hampered by only one super bowl appearance and win? 

In the AFC we have new QB phenom Patrick Mahomes and newer QB phenom Josh Allen. 

The Pack and the Chiefs are each favoured by three at home. Here are our picks. 

If any team can pull off an upset it is the Tampa Bay Bradys and not because of their QB. Tampa's offensive line is vastly superior to Green Bay's Defensive line. Championships are won in the trenches. Our pick is the Pack -3, but the upset of the day could be Tampa Bradys. 

The AFC game is easier. You ain't beating Mahomes at home. Period. End of sentence. Give the three. Go on margin with your stocks. Sell some Ethereum and Bit Coin. Raise capital and then call your version of 52nd Street Irwin (who if we did not mention it, sadly our long time friend and bookie and famous Vegas line setter has moved on to the big sports room in the sky over the summer due to, yes Covid) and put it all on the Chiefs. 

Some Prop bets-

IF Green Bay -3, Then KC -3. Lets say you bet 110 on the Pack to win 100.  If the Pack wins, then you roll that 100 on to KC to win 200. If the Pack loses, you lose 110. 

We also like a $500 two team Parlay Pack and KC. Parlays pay 13 to 5. So you win 1,300 if you bet 500 which is 300 more than if you just bet 500 on Green Bay and 500 on KC. 

With the weather in Green Bay we like the under 51.5. So how about a Green Bay -3 parlay with under 51.5 for $500?  And lets do a KC -3 parlay with under 51/5 Green Bay/Bradys for 500 

And finally how about some Teasers? We know, from quantitative analysis over decades that teasers, which allow you to move lines on totals and point spreads are losing bets. A couple of rules from the quant analysis- never tease a total; never tease a college football game; never tease below zero and always try to tease below 7 and 3 points. 

Let's do a six point two team teaser that requires us to risk 120 to win 100. This of course violates the rule of teasing below zero because in this case both KC and Green Bay are favourited by three points. A six point teaser would GIVE Green Bay 3 and KC 3. What the heck, you only live once. Let's bet 1200 to win a G, teasing six points Green Bay +3 KC +3. 

Have fun.  

 

 


Saturday, January 23, 2021

LARRY KING HAS PASSED AWAY

 Before we get to the death of the iconic talk show host who has deep Miami roots, we want to address the latest Potus 45 scandal in the waning days of the Fuhrer's rule. 

At the end of 2020,  quisling lawyer Jeffrey Clark, head of the DOJ's civil division, attempted to engineer a coup that involved deposing the acting Attorney General, replacing the AG with himself, and then using the power of the DOJ to order Georgia to throw-out the presidential election results. Clark proposed such maneuvers in meetings with the President at the end of the year. It was only a promise from the Acting AG that he and the entire top echelon of DOJ employees would resign in protest that dissuaded the Fuhrer from endorsing the planned assault on the integrity of the Justice Department and our Democracy. 

On Monday, February 27, 1933, four weeks after Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany, there was a fire at the Reichstag- the German Parliament in Berlin.   The fire was blamed on Martin van der Lubbe, a Dutch Communist. The next day the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed, alleging that Germany was under attack by communists. The decree was instrumental in bringing the Nazi Party to power. The background to the fire was that although elected Chancellor, Hitler's Nazi party did not have a majority in parliament. He was agitating for the passage of the Enabling Act that would bypass the Weimar Republic's Constitution and allow the Chancellor to pass laws by decree. Although Chancellor, Hitler  had to contend with German President (and war hero) Paul Von Hindenburg who had significant power in the Government. 

After the fire, (set by Hitler cronies), Hindenburg signed the Reichstag Fire Decree which suspended many of the liberties guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution, including the right of habeas corpus, the right to a free press, the right to free speech and assembly, and the privacy of phone and mail communications. Such freedoms were never restored until after the end of WWII twelve years later. 

While the invalidation of the Georgia presidential elections would have not denied President Biden an electoral victory, it was the first step- like the Reichstag fire- on the way to declaring martial law, invalidating all of the election results, and passage of a modern day American Reichstag Fire Decree. As the events of the months after the presidential election are revealed, just how close we came to losing our democratic government are coming to light. And we are guessing there are even more plans and planners to be revealed in the coming days.  

LARRY KING HAS DIED

In 1957 23 year old Larry King arrived in Miami and got a job sweeping the floors at Miami Radio station WAHR. Two weeks later a host quit and King got his first job (after the station owner told him to change his last name from Zeiger (too German) to King). In 1958 King moved to WKAT, and then in 1960 to WIOD where he became the number one rated talk show host in South Florida, color commentator for the Miami Dolphins, and hosted a four hour evening show at the iconic Miami Beach Restaurant Pumpernicks, where the waitresses were world renown for being rude, the food was solid Jewish-deli, and King interviewed regular patrons intermixed with Jackie Gleeson, Frank Sinatra, and other 60's celebrities. A personal roller coaster ride ensued, with King being the top paid radio host, losing his money to a gambling addiction, getting arrested for not repaying a debt and bouncing checks, banished  to doing promotions for a small Louisiana race track, a return to Miami and WIOD, a national nighttime radio show, and finally becoming the  host on CNN's 9pm prime time show where he interviewed the top newsmakers of the day, celebrities, and took calls ("Canastota New York, you're on the air!"). 

In 1992 cranky Texan Ross Perot announced on Larry King live he would run for president if people would write his name in, A political revolt was born that ended with Perot taking enough votes away from George Herbert Walker Bush to get William Jefferson Clinton elected President. 

King had a folksy style, even with the biggest celebrities of the day. He asked Violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz "Jascha, why the violin?" A: "My mother made me."

King asked President Nixon in 1992, during an interview in Washington DC, if returning to Washington and driving by the Watergate complex upset him. Nixon replied that he was not bothered, and that he had never been to the Watergate complex. King, stunned replied: "You've never been inside Watergate?" setting up Nixon's deadpan response: "No, but unfortunately others have been.

Miami had two of the legendary radio talk show hosts of all time- Larry King and the great Neil Rogers. International success and fame all started for Larry King when he was hired to sweep floors in a now defunct Miami radio station. His radio show at Pumpernick's on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach was his big break. And Miami had a hand in it all. 

Larry King calls Neil Rogers

Thursday, January 21, 2021

BANNED AND SHUNNED

 "Let his name be spoken nevermore." 

The 45th President of the United States tested the edges of our Democracy. The leader of a cult personality, he rallied a segment of our country with lies pandering to their racists beliefs fostered by their disaffection of their failed lives -precisely because they are uneducated racists.

He bent Democracy, but he did not break it. Democracy survived and will emerge stronger. 

He has been banned by Twitter, the sword of his attacks and lies. 

And now we commit to never speaking or writing his name again. The worst punishment that can be meted out to this narcissistic sociopath is to be made irrelevant, ignored and forgotten. He shall be forever known as the former failed President, or POTUS 45. Nothing more. 

Speaking of which, POTUS 45 did indeed leave a note for President Biden. AND WE HAVE IT.


Dear Joe: 

Woops! My bad. How about a pardon and getting me back on Twitter? Think about continuing the wall. Mexico will pay. Ignore Covid. It will magically go away. I'm gonna do the Apprentice again. Think about promoting it. I need some cash. Try and release that stuff on Kennedy. The CIA never let me. Fascinating stuff there- no one has ever seen anything like it people are telling me.  That's all I have. Drop the mic and walk away. 

POTUS45

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WHAT IS IN WHAT IS OUT

UPDATE: We are live tweeting the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States @justicebuilding

First, some trivia. Inauguration day starts a string of palindromic dates that will end with 1-29-21.  However, the next January 20 inauguration day that will be palindromic will be in one thousand years 1-20-3021. Unfortunately most of you will not be around to read our post on that day. And prediction wise, we make this prognostication- the election and inauguration  of the semi-human, semi-robot- Ivanka Clinton-Bush. And the slogan? Make the United States of Apple-Tesla Great Again. MUSATGA! 

IN Science, Dr. Fauci, Masks, Global Warming. Paris Climate Accords. 

OUT: Fossil fuels, fake news. America First idiocy on global warming. 

IN : CNN AND MSNBC.

OUT: Fox news. 

IN: The Oval Office.

OUT: Being fired via Twitter. 

IN: THE DOJ, An independent AG, The Cole Memo, Cannabis. 

OUT: Indicting defendants for the highest possible crimes. 

IN: Criminal Justice Reform.

OUT: Pardons. 

IN: NATO, Germany,  England, France,  China,  Mexico,  Muslim Countries, Immigration,  Dreamers.

OUT: The Wall.

IN: Rescue Cats and Dogs.

OUT: Diet Coke in the Oval Office.

IN: Pelotons.

OUT: Sloth, Golf.

IN: LGBT (Dr. Rachel Levine is the first transgender person to hold a senate confirmed office- Assistant Health Secretary).

OUT: Old white men (except that the President is the oldest white male to hold the office).

IN: Professional Diplomacy.

OUT: Lunacy.

IN:  Trains (although the Secret Service put the kibosh on Biden taking Amtrak to DC). 

OUT: Complaints about not being treated fairly. 

IN: Daily White House Press Conferences.

OUT: Nasty White House staff who think their poop doesn't smell. 

IN: Economic Stimulus and Higher Taxes and Republicans suddenly discovering the deficit again.

OUT: Tax reform for the rich.

IN: America. 

OUT: This 1,461 day nightmare. Call it the end of an Error. 

TRIVIA: President Biden shares a name with an (in)famous Miami Judge. Name the name and the Judge. 

POP QUIZ:

Which did NOT occur in the last 1,461 days?

A) The President tried to buy Greenland using Puerto Rico as payment;

B) The President canceled a trip to Denmark when it refused to sell Greenland to the US;

C) The President suggested ingesting bleach to combat Covid19;

D) The President led a Boy Scout Jamboree in a chant of "Lock her up" aimed at Hillary Clinton;

E) The President used a sharpie to alter a map after incorrectly stating that a hurricane was about to hit Alabama;

F) The President wondered why nuclear weapons could not be used to break-up hurricanes;

G) The President sent real troops to the Texas-Mexican border to defend against an imagined invasion of a caravan of illegal immigrants set to invade the US to disrupt the 2018 mid-term elections;

H) Mexico did not pay for a border wall;

I)  The President called white-supremacists in Charlottesville, North Carolina, "decent people". 

J) The President won the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada? 

K)  All of the above occurred. It has been a looooooong four years. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

REMAIN CALM

Wednesday is the inauguration of Joseph Biden. It will not be Donald Trump. Thus, there are rumblings of civil unrest. It is mostly untrue despite an unexplained stoppage of ATT cell phone service last week for an hour or so. But although there is nothing to worry about on Wednesday- repeat- nothing to worry about, the Judges have received a gentle suggestion to end their work for the day Wednesday morning. 

Are you kidding us? There are no trials. So without this encouragement to -Gerry Klein like- (a rapidly becoming obscure REGJB reference) to knock off by noon- criminal court judges would be labouring doing the people's business until 5 pm. Really? What are they otherwise doing in the afternoon in the REGJB? Counting those lighted squares behind  the bench in the older, larger courtrooms? 

Here is the email from the Chief Judge of the REGJB (and soon to be chief of more? Perhaps, but that is a post for another day), and again, there is nothing to worry about. 

Good afternoon, All.  I hope that this email finds you all healthy & well.
As you know, Wednesday, January 20th is inauguration day.  Notwithstanding concerns about violent protests around the country, there are currently no concerns related to Miami or the REG.  We are in regular contact with MDPD and DHS and they will alert us if they anticipate any issues.

To the extent possible, please try and have your calendars completed in the AM.  Just to be safe it would be ideal to have all court calendars completed as soon as the PM bond hearings are done.  Again – there is currently not even the hint of a threat for us, but better to be safe.  

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 

Remain calm. All is well. 


PODEN US

 PODS have been explained. They caused us confusion a few posts ago when we posted the zoom numbers for Judges. Judges also have Pods. We could not understand why. Then  a long time reader filled us in. It is really poddenly simple, poden the pun. 

Pods are for in custody defendants. Apparently the jails only have so many zoom outlets and therefore to close out a case with an in-custody defendant a Judge needs to use a Pod. 

Pod explained. They could have called it "in custody zoom hearings" but the self explanatory nature of the nomenclature (say that five times fast) is too simple for use. 


At 45 seconds: "They're like huge sea pods" 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 1956. 


Monday, January 18, 2021

IN PRAISE OF TRUMP'S PARDONS

 The media is up in arms. Liberals are seething (the last days pardons of Bill Clinton a distant memory). "Pay for play" is all the rage in being criticized. The ability of rich and wealthy people who can buy influence is being decried. So be it. 

But as a reader of this humble blog, you know you expect us to look deeper. And so we shall. 

As a young lad of a lawyer in the 1970s it was not uncommon to see a woman in a courtroom. Her eyes blackened. Perhaps her jaw or nose broken. The case would be called. The defense attorney would inform the judge the victim was married to the defendant, and the case would be dismissed. Then the pendulum swung the other way. Federal funding for domestic violence caused prosecutors to form specialized units. Judges were trained. And as the pendulum swung we now have situations where it is easier to post bond for a client stopped with a kilo of cocaine than it is for a defendant charged with throwing a marshmallow in anger at their domestic partner. 

The same is true for white collar crime. In the past, as people of color were locked up for violent street crimes, white collar crimes were pooh-poohed. No one was hurt. The defendant was not a danger to others. Probation was sufficient. Then the odious sentencing guidelines took hold. The amount of loss drove a prison sentence. And loss was defined as either actual or intended. Medical fraud cases where the defendant billed ten million dollars and received ten thousand dollars were treated as a loss of ten million. Now we see white collar crime sentences where the guidelines are more severe then a terrorist act or sexual assault. Fifty year old business owners are the new recipients of the "lock em up and throw away the key" philosophy.  Appeals are routinely denied in circuits (other than the Ninth) where the term "reversed and remanded for discharge" is as archaic as the term "your obt' svt". 

So defendants and families are desperate. A court system that is uncaring and rigged against a defendant. A gulag of prisons swallowing up white collars fraud cases and spitting out broken old men. Enter President Trump. The DOJs Office of Pardons and Commutations is broken. There is a 15,000 plus back log. Prosecutors are making recommendations about whether defendants should have their sentence commuted or pardoned.  President Trump did not care about convention or prior practice. He was available to right a wrong. 

Right here in the SDFLA, about 18 months ago  a man who was the father of five children, whose wife was dying of cancer, and was slammed with a twenty year trial tax was sentenced to 20 years for an analogue marijuana drug case. His sentence was rightfully commuted after two. 

Is the ability to buy influence for a personal issue odious and wrong? Sure it is. But it happens every day with every administration. That is not the story here. The story is about a broken court system that imposes trial taxes, that is uncaring and driven by a broken and outdated sentencing guidelines system. 

Item: The sophisticated means enhancement of two points was created at a time when computers and cell phones were still novelties in our society.  The enhancement is routinely applied in almost every case (so we hear- we don't proceed to sentencings often for reasons you fully understand). One judge recently commented that imposing a sophisticated means enhancement these days was like fining someone for speeding, and then doubling the fine for speeding while using a car. 

The story here is not desperate and wealthy people trying to get a pardon or commutation. The deeper story is why? The answer is that because the system is broken. It sends people to prison because that is what it knows how to do. That their money and take their liberty and tell them "don't do it again" when you get out in wheelchair -if you get out at all. 

If Joe Biden wants to do things different than Trump then he should start by doing what Trump started- criminal justice reform. The First Step Act was a good first step. But more is needed. The Guidelines need to be fixed. Just like the crack/power dispute created disparate sentences during the war on drugs, the "intended loss" language of 2B1.1 of the sentencing guidelines needs to be repaired because it is broken and it is allowing prosecutors to seek multiple decade sentences where there was no loss. 

How about the fact that there is no expungement of a federal conviction? People with federal marijuana convictions from the 1970s still cannot get good jobs or loans. A federal conviction is like a nasty case of herpes- or that "1-800-cars for kids" song- it never goes away. A pardon is the only way a person get out from under a mistake made 20, 30, 40 years ago. The system, for many reasons, is broken. 

So while we are no fan of the current President,  we hope he empties the federal prisons. Pardon hundreds of people serving long minimum mandatory sentences who were drug mules like Alice Johnson  who he pardoned at the beginning of his term. Pardon all white collar fraud cases with sentences over ten years where there was no real loss and no victim suffered (so not Madoff). Pardon or commute em all we say. 

 Make the criminal justice system great again. MTCJSGA just doesn't roll off the tongue. 



Sunday, January 17, 2021

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS 2021

 We keep getting thrown off and miss the Saturday playoff games because of our Saturday activities. Yesterday we hiked for about 24 kilometers and did not see a soul. It was a good day. Is there anything better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and thermos of coffee when on a long, cold hike? BTW, the Apple watch is a must have for hikers. You can time your trek out, which allows you to know how far and long the hike back is. The compass app also helps. 

Browns at Chiefs. Whos doesn't love these upstart Browns? They are too young to know they should be afraid. And as we have continually said, a pounding running game is a valuable weapon come January. With a small lead in the fourth quarter, a quality back can seal the win. Alas, the Browns won't be within shouting distance of KC when there is fifteen minutes left in the game. KC-50 or whatever the line is. Give the points. 

Bradys at Saints. While we think old Drew Brees will beat Old Tom Cheater by more than three (which is the line and our pick). However poetry and what awaits next week, on the frozen tundra of Green Bay Wisconsin and another old QB playing in his first home NFC championship game makes the future for either QB and their team not pretty. One can imagine carpetbagger/cheater Brady thinking this: "I know that I shall meet my fate, somewhere among the field with snow from above. Those I fight I do not hate, those I play for I do not love."  Which of course are lines from one of our favourite poems by William Butler Yeats- An Irish Airman Foresees his Death:


I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.


Saturday, January 16, 2021

REGJB CRIMINAL COURT ASSIGNMENTS 2021

 Here is your new and updated 2021 judicial assignments for our beloved, yet empty, REGJB. This chart has the all important Zoom numbers, without which, you cannot appear and function as an advocate. You used to need your REGJB Id before starting the day so you could skip the line and be admitted to the courthouse. Now you need your Zoom numbers. Life marches on. 

2021 Felony Division Zoom Directory PDF by HR on Scribd

  

We also have a "POD" schedule. Now, as readers of this blog know, we are a polymath. If you want to know why Eisenhower chose North Africa as the first place to start America's involvement in WWII, we can speak on the subject for hours, and give you detailed reasons for the failed battle at the Kasserine Pass. If you want to know why NASA chose lunar orbit rendezvous as the strategy to land on the Moon, we can delve into the details, and update you on Buzz Aldrin's doctoral paper at MIT on orbital mechanics. The plots of Shakespeare tragedies roll off our tongue almost unconsciously, and we can quote Romeo and Juliet from nearly beginning to end. If the origins of the universe intrigue you, cosmology is our hobby. Should you wish to debate the merits (there are none) of the designated hitter rule in baseball, pull up a chair and pop open a can of your favourite micro brew and lets begin. Longtime and careful readers of the blog know this about your humble blogger. 

However, when stymied, we fully admit the limits of our (vast) knowledge. We do not understand the appeal of Instagram, or Keeping up with the Kardashians, or how to snapchat. We can find the leakage in a stock's options pricing and sometimes exploit that for personal gain, but we do not understand much about television streaming services. 

Which brings us to this: PODS. We also present to you a POD schedule. However we are admittedly confused about the need and use of said POD. Do not Judges have Zoom in their courtroom? Then why a POD? What exactly is a POD? Has the REGJB been reconfigured? Are there White-House like situation rooms now sprinkled throughout the building? Is special attire required when entering a POD? If we have a case set for court, how do we know whether to use the Zoom ID or somehow gain access to a POD? The micro-seconds after the big bang can be explained with mathematics within our grasp. The expansion of energy was a once-in-a-universe's-lifetime-event. We know why the universe did not expand evenly and we (sadly) understand why it will continue to slowly expand until our sky is a dark vast void. But we do not understand PODs. 

Here is the POD document. Do with it what you wish. 


Pod Schedule 2021 by HR on Scribd

Friday, January 15, 2021

JURY TRIALS SUSPENDED UNTIL MARCH 1

 There is not much more to say.  

CJ Soto suspended jury trials in Miami-Dade County state court until March 1, 2021. 

Stay safe. Wear masks. Practice social distancing. Don't raid the Capitol. Things like that. Common sense. 


Thursday, January 14, 2021

JUDGE WILKIE D FERGUSON, Jr.

 There is a remarkable concurrence that was written by Judge Logue in this case published this week in the Third District Court of Appeals. 

The issue for the court, sitting en banc, happens to be one we have a hobbyist interest in: the legal interpretation of section in 11 U.S.C.  362(a)(1) of the United States Bankruptcy Code and whether the automatic stay provision in inapplicable where the debtor has filed for federal bankruptcy protection.  As we have long said, it is past time for the oft and long criticized opinion in  Shop in the Grove, Ltd. v. Union Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n of Miami, 425 So. 2d 1138 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982), to be discarded to the ash heap of wrongly decided cases. And while the en banc opinion finally, and admirably did just that, Judge Logue wrote about the Judge who was forty years ahead of his time. It is a wonderful concurrence and deserves to be posted here in full. And so we shall. 

LOGUE, J. (concurring). I concur in the majority opinion receding from Shop in the Grove, Ltd. v. Union Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n of Miami, 425 So. 2d 1138 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982). I write only to point out that we are adopting almost word-for-word the legal interpretation of section 362(a)(1) of the United States Bankruptcy Code put forward some forty years ago by Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. of our Court in his dissent. Shop in the Grove concerned the issue of whether an appeal by a debtor of an adverse judgment qualified as a “continuation . . . of a judicial . . . proceeding against the debtor” under the Bankruptcy Code and therefore automatically stayed. The majority in Shop in the Grove held it was not. Judge Ferguson dissented, writing: . . . The requirement imposed upon an appellant-debtor by the majority to “fish or cut bait” translates into a Hobson’s choice between waiver of bankruptcy for the purpose of an appeal from the adverse judgment or conceding the contested debt in order to seek relief in the bankruptcy court. I am aware of no rule of bankruptcy law or federal procedure that would require such an election. In my opinion the appeal by the appellant-debtor from a judgment against it is a continuation of the judicial proceeding against debtor, clearly within the purview of the Act’s automatic stay provision. Id. at 1140 (Ferguson, J. dissenting). When Judge Ferguson issued his dissent in 1982, the “new” form of the Bankruptcy Code was only four years old. Over the ensuing decades, as the majority points out, every state and federal court that considered the issue reached the interpretation first put forward by Judge Ferguson. The judgment of this soft spoken, scholarly, and insightful jurist has stood the test of time on this highly technical issue of commercial law, as it has in so many matters reaching to civil rights and constitutional law.

Although known for his gracious good will and punctilious courtesy, Judge Ferguson did not hesitate to chide lawyers and even colleagues for indulging in cant or legal obscurities.  

[Rumpole notes we will not again make such a mistake when referring to Due Process]:  See, e.g., Cramer, 33 F. Supp. 2d at 1352, n.4 (“In discussing the notice issue the parties have used the term ‘procedural due process’ which I shun because it is, as one commentator observed, redundant. John Hart Ely, Democracy and Distrust 18 (1980). The word following ‘Due’ in the Fourteenth Amendment is ‘Process’ the writer notes, which is the same as procedure. Process is defined as a ‘normal course of procedure.’ Black’s Law Dictionary 1205 (6th Ed. 1992). By the same token, he continues, ‘substantive due process’ is a contradiction in terms. A right in the constitutional sense, generally, is either substantive or procedural. Writers who use substantive or procedural to describe due process appear trapped and the work product may lack clarity. There is no doubt that this discourse on advance notice and opportunity to be heard is about procedural fairness. Saying it twice is unnecessary.”).

Judge Ferguson was born in 1938 to Bahamian immigrants and was raised in Miami’s Liberty Square public housing project. He joined the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of captain. He obtained his B.A. from Florida A&M University and his J.D. from Howard University School of Law. He served on this Court from 1980 to 1993 until he was appointed to the federal district court for the Southern District of Florida where he served with distinction until shortly before his death in 2003. The Congress of the United States named the federal courthouse in Miami in his honor. As this case comes full circle, and we adopt the position first advocated by Judge Ferguson almost forty years ago, I think it is fit and proper to bear in mind we are following in the footsteps of this distinguished, past member of our conference.

Well said Judge Logue. And thank you. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

PLAY IT AGAIN SAM

Lets Play Jeopardy!
"I'll take Presidents for Four Hundred" 
The answer is "The House of Representatives has approved Presidential articles of impeachment four times. Two of them for this President"
(Buzzer sound) Q: Who is Richard Nixon? 
Host- oh, no that is incorrect. 

(Buzzer sound) Q: Who is Donald Trump? 

Host- correct! 

So the 45th President of the United States was impeached for the  second time on Wednesday. 

What is next? A new recount in Georgia, obviously. 

Senator Mitch McConnell, the current majority leader is prepared to set a trial on the matter using the "Miami REGJB Scheduling Method". Current estimates, after depos, is a trial sometime in 2024. 

And now something for the author of the Constitutional Calendar and fellow Lincoln-philes.  

President-elect Joe Biden announced he will ride the train to his inauguration. The current atmosphere in Washington, with armed national guard troops billeted on the floor of the Capitol, brings to mind the atmosphere in February, 1861, when President elect Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois and made a 90 plus train stop on the way to DC for his inaugural on March 4, 1861. 

On February 21, 1861, Lincoln's train arrived in Philadelphia, where over 100,000 lined the streets as the President elect traveled via carriage to his hotel. From Philadelphia Lincoln went to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and then Baltimore, Maryland, where things got really interesting. 

The railroad had hired detective Alan Pinkerton to coordinate security for the President elect. Pinkerton was concerned that as the train left Harrisburg for Baltimore, a plot to kill Lincoln would be executed in Baltimore. So Pinkerton did a few things. First he had the communication lines between Harrisburg and Baltimore cut. Second, he had Lincoln's train arrive at 3:30 a.m. Third,  because the law in Baltimore forbade train travel at night, Pinkerton arranged for a team of horses to pull Lincoln's train between the President Street and Camden Street stations before the train left for Washington. 

Having safely taken the President elect through the danger, Pinkerton sent this wire to the head of the railroad lines that had hired him: "Plums delivered nuts safely". 

Lincoln's friend and self appointed body guard Ward Hill Lamon clashed with Pinkerton over Lincoln's safety. Lamon wanted to give Lincoln a revolver and bowie knife to protect himself. Pinkerton objected, saying he would not have it be said that the president elect had to enter Washington armed. 

For the rest of his life Lincoln was ridiculed for his act of cowardice of sneaking through Baltimore in the middle of the night. 

In the interregnum between his election and assuming office several southern states seceded from the Union. 

In turn Lincoln gave the greatest peroration in inaugural address history- words that President elect Biden should echo. They are worth repeating at this hour in our history: 

You can have no conflict without being yourselves being the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it...We are no enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. 

We cannot tell you greater words were ever spoken by any President, ever. The address and peroration ranks with the greatest of all time, sharing first place, in our opinion, with Winston Spencer Churchill's address to Parliament on June 5, 1940. Having just secured the British Expeditionary Force from France via Dunkirk, Churchill thundered "We shall prove ourselves able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storms of war,  and outlive the menace of tyranny,  if necessary for years, if necessary alone...we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills,  we shall never surrender!" 

Some days we give the edge to Lincoln, other days to WSC. It is a very very close call. Lincoln did not stop the war, although he tried. Churchill rallied a nation and a world, at its darkest hour,  to cause in which he would never accept failure as an outcome whatever the cost. As President Kennedy said when awarding him an honorary American citizenship, "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." This was a quote from the famous American journalist Edward R Murrow, who was in England as a reporter during the war.  These days we give the edge, however slight to WSC, but that could change tomorrow. 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

14 TO THE RESCUE

 The Fourteenth Amendment, the refuge of harried criminal defense lawyers who belatedly throw it in their motions to suppress to impress the Judge that the US Constitution's Bill of Rights applies to the States, may just be what we need in these troubling times. 

We've all read the first section, but did you know there are five  sections of the fourteenth? And the third section seems most appealing these days to a weary blogger's eyes: 

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

So what were they thinking when they drafted this section? We think they were contemplating today. No, not the Internet and Starbucks and Kardashians, but we surmise the drafters were contemplating a situation in which a populist with antidemocracy ideas runs for office after trying to topple the government. Granted they probably did not contemplate stopping the reelection of a President who incited a rebellion, but they drafted the amendment broad enough to cover such an unforeseen situation. 

Insurrectionists? They were ready for that. Nuts wearing furs and horns rampaging through Congress and egged on by the President? Probably not. 



Monday, January 11, 2021

OSVALDO SOTO HAS PASSED AWAY

 Osvaldo Soto is the father of our Chief Judge Bertilla Soto. But in his own right, he was a trailblazer, a hero who fought communism for freedom in his home country, an immigrant success story, and a legal and community leader. 

Here is the CABA announcement. 


Dear Members and the Cuban-American community,

 

It is with a heavy heart that CABA mourns the loss of its Past President, Osvaldo Soto, who passed away on January 9, 2021. Osvaldo N. Soto, Esq. was one of the founding members of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) and was its fourth President. For more than four decades he served as a pivotal figure for CABA and the Cuban-American exile community as a whole. He furthered CABA’s mission and goals while creating long-lasting friendships and a warm sense of collegial family among our organization. 

 

Osvaldo was the son of Antonio Soto and Maria Teresa Polo, descended from a prominent Cuban family. He graduated from La Universidad de la Havana as an attorney at the young age of twenty-one. He worked both in the family business and as an attorney. One of his first legal positions was that of public defender. Osvaldo established his career and family in Havana, where he remained until Fidel Castro’s regime confiscated all his family’s businesses, his law practice, and their personal and real property in 1960. Like many Cubans at the time, Osvaldo and his young family made the difficult decision to flee to the United States, seeking freedom and refuge from the ongoing political crisis in Cuba. With his wife, Bertila Areces Soto, and his three sons, Osvaldo, Eduardo and Rigoberto, he moved to Miami, Florida. 

 

Osvaldo’s commitment to his belief in a free and democratic Cuba never wavered. When asked to join training for covert operations in the fight for Cuba’s independence from Castro’s dictatorship and communism, he accepted without hesitation. His deep-rooted belief in democracy and dedication to causes close to his heart, would be evident in both this undertaking and in the meaningful work he embarked upon thereafter.

 

In honoring his commitment, he ultimately joined La Brigada Especial, located at an American Army training camp in New Orleans. Louisiana. During his training, in April of 1961, Osvaldo was asked to write a Code of Occupation, intended to be a body of laws for the areas the Brigade would occupy after the invasion. Shortly thereafter, with a still incomplete Code and minimal training, Osvaldo and La Brigada Especial left New Orleans to join others already headed to Cuba’s shores. Despite their best efforts to disembark near Guantanamo City, the Cuban government had received intelligence on their preparations and it was never safe for them to do so. Their course was moved to Playa Giron. Notwithstanding weak preparation, Osvaldo bravely joined fellow Cuban laborers, businessmen, students, attorneys and laypeople in heartfelt efforts toward liberating Cuba from tyrannical rule. But upon arriving at Playa Giron, he and his cohort could see the smoldering ships from their friends among the Brigada 2506. After several days of waiting for further instructions and support which never arrived, they were disappointedly removed from their vessel. Several weeks later, Osvaldo returned to Miami unrecognizable to his family - sunburned and 40 pounds thinner. His resolve in advocacy of a free and democratic Cuba, as well as his goal for professional advancement in the United States, nonetheless continued. Both were evident in the work he undertook, the causes he supported, and the lessons that he taught us all.

 

After the Bay of Pigs invasion, Osvaldo moved on to work in Riverton, Wyoming. He later moved to Longwood College in Virginia, where he and his wife welcomed their daughter, Bertila Soto – a proud CABA member who has gone on to become the first female and first Hispanic Chief Judge in the history of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. After a short time, Osvaldo began teaching first as an assistant, then as an associate and finally as a full professor at Iowa State University, where he published various books.

 

In 1975, after completing the Cuban-American Lawyers Program, Osvaldo sat for the Florida Bar and thereafter worked as an attorney and in service to various social interest organizations in the Miami community. Although he only physically returned to Cuba once, when he went to Guantanamo City with CABA to assist exiles in the naval base, he returned to Cuba many times in his dreams with hopes of restoring Cuba to a free and democratic country. A proud American citizen, Osvaldo equally championed both the liberty of Cuba and equal rights for his Cuban-American community in the United States.

 

Over the years, CABA’s leadership and its members have recognized Osvaldo Soto in many ways, including with the Founder’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2019. His advocacy, support, and advancement for causes like diversity in the judiciary and in the legal profession have molded and shaped the direction of our organization for the better, and the impact that he left on our community has forever changed the lives of many. He was beloved among his friends, revered among CABA’s membership and the legal community, and continued to be an advocate for our organization and for the causes that CABA undertakes. We are grateful for his years of service, but above all else, we are so very grateful for his continued friendship among our CABA family.

 

Osvaldo N. Soto’s enduring legacy lives on with his wife, Bertila Areces Soto, his sister Esther Leyes, his children, Osvaldo Soto, Rigaberto Soto, Eduardo Soto, The Honorable Bertila Soto, their spouses, and his grandchildren, John Paul Soto, Christopher Soto, Bily Fernandez, Anthony Soto, Alexandra Soto, Nicholas Soto, Thomas Soto, Andres Soto, Natalia Soto, Jose Luis Soto, and his great-grandchildren.

 

Osvaldo N. Soto, Esq. was a scholar, a patriot, and a true friend. He will be missed by all. Que en paz descanse.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

WILD CARD SUNDAY 2021

 We try not to get political on Football Sundays, but this thought has occurred to us. How was it ok for the Republicans to confirm a Supreme Court Justice eight days before a presidential election, but the same Republican senators are not ok with impeaching a president ten days before his term ends when he arguably committed treason, pushed a mob to commit insurrection, and he and his minions gave speeches that inflamed that mob to storm our Capitol?  The President should be impeached. That is  a question for the House and they have the time to draft articles of impeachment and vote on it.  A trial should be held in the Senate and all senators should have to vote, in public, on the president's actions this past week. It does not matter if this occurs after Joe Biden is inaugurated. Justice knows no time limits. A crime occurred and it must be investigated. If the president committed impeachable acts then he should be tried and judged and history should reflect that when called to the task, our Congress neither flagged nor failed. 


WILD CARD SUNDAY

The Best Game Sunday is the first game. Ravens at Titans. Titans are a home playoff dog. Talk about a great bet! The Ravens are peaking at the right time. They and the Bills are the two teams no one wants to play this season in the playoffs and the Super bowl. We think the Ravens will win. BUT....The Titans have the best back in Football. The Ravens QB has a tendency to throw INTs in big games. We are compelled to take Tennessee at home +3. 

Bears at Saints. Think Bucs at Washington yesterday. Saints -10. 

Browns at Steelers. The big question is whether these are your same old Browns? Probably not. They are a good team. And with the better running back, they have the tools to win on the road in Pittsburgh in January (not something that sports prognosticators have often written about the Browns over the past forty years.). But... The game after the one week Steeler QB Roethlisberger had off this year was his best game of the season. For the first eleven games of the season, and especially games 3-9, the Steelers were the best team in the league. They could run and they had a super bowl quality defense. Injuries on the D line, Linebackers and secondary have substantially weakened the Steeler D. So the question is whether Big Ben is well rested. Can they run the ball and will they change their offense scheme of short passes which surprised the league at first, but now they have adjusted to? We think the answer is YES to at least two of those three questions and with a good (but not great Defense) and arguably the NFL Defensive player of the Year in TJ Watt, the pick is the home town Steelers -6.

We saw this on line. It is hard to mock Trump followers when they are doing a fine job on their own. 




Friday, January 08, 2021

JOHNNY VANDER MEER

 On June 11, 1938 Pitcher Johnny Vander Meer threw a no-hitter, On June 15, 1938, Johnny Vander Meer threw another no hitter, becoming the only man in the history of baseball to throw two no hitters in a row in consecutive starts. To break his record, a pitcher would have to throw three no hitters in a row. 27 scoreless no hit innings of baseball in a row. 

Records are often spoken about in terms of being unbreakable. We have long held to the belief that Johnny Vander Meer's record is the most unbreakable record in sports. 

Which brings us to our president. No president has ever been impeached twice. A few have been impeached once. It would seem being impeached twice would be an unbreakable record, but given the events of this past week, Donald J Trump may accomplish something no one thought possible- being impeached twice in one term as president. We cheer him on. "Go for it!" we say. Do the unthinkable. Make the history books. 

Meanwhile, we are a bit jealous. The President has been PERMANENTLY BANNED by Twitter. No fair! We want to be permanently banned by Twitter. Imagine the cool merch: "BANNED BY TWITTER" T-shirts and hats. It would be cool. Therefore, by the power vested in us by being a blogger, we hereby call upon our followers to STORM the North Dade Justice Center next week (do it early in the day, rush hour traffic in Aventura sucks) chanting WE WANT JURY TRIALS! WE WANT JURY TRIALS!

Go on Twitter and demand  @justicebuilding be banned for being exceptionally smug.  

Come on. Take a stand. Storm the Castle, or the North Dade Justice Center as it were. 

Have you gotten the images of jack-booted thugs storming our Capitol and being gently escorted from the premises by the Capitol Police "Come on you guys, cool it will ya?"  Is there anyone here who doesn't think a Black Lives Matter march that stormed the Capitol would have been brutally attacked by the police, handcuffed and dragged away screaming in pain? It is a national disgrace how nicely the white right wing Nazis were treated. It makes us sick. 

Baseball cannot start soon enough to get our mind off these awful days. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

CONGRESS DOWN

 It's a slow news day. Let's see....Georgia senate races decided. Macys is closing some more stores. Kim Khardashian is getting divorced, which has caused us to push forward on our plan to lose five pounds... and ...oh yeah...

THE CAPITOL HAS BEEN OVERRUN . CONGRESS AND THE SENATE HAVE BEEN INVADED BY PROTESTORS. 

Our first thought is that apparently Congress is guarded by security personnel who couldn't get a job at the REGJB. "Nope, you failed the test. People may not bring rocket launchers into the courthouse. But we hear the Capitol police are hiring. Send your resume there."

So while the Capitol SWAT force was out in full force this summer when 200,000 people marched in DC to support Black Lives Matter (and we do not believe there were any arrests) when a bunch of out of work, disenfranchised white male Trump supporters who can't even hold a job at McDonalds descend upon the Capitol, that is the time the four seventy year old retired police officers are put on the security screening unit for the senate and congress. "If you want to occupy Congress, clear the screening unit, turn left and follow the signs. To occupy the Senate, clear the unit and make a right and then up a floor. Don't forget to take your complimentary map of Senate offices so you can storm the senator of your choice."

We aren't  conspiracy theorists. But we know enough law enforcement personnel who support Trump's forceful takeover of the Country, that we are truly wondering whether the lack of police presence and the complete lack of any police force to protect the Capitol was not planned. It is harder to get into Starbucks to get a Latte then it was to storm the Capitol today. As of this writing there is still no National Guard being deployed. 

Here is some fodder for thought: If a bunch of idiots could storm the Capitol, what would a dedicated group of terrorists be able to accomplish?  It is tradition to leave a Cabinet member in a secure spot during the State of The Union address. But apparently there is not much thought given to actually protecting the Capitol from attack that would wipe out most of the Government. 

Let's put it this way- people in Kazakhstan are shaking their heads at the American Government. People in Venezuela are laughing at us. Lichtenstein and Canada are offering to send soldiers to help secure the Capitol. FRANCE is offering to send security experts to help secure Washington DC. Nazis took Paris after two weeks of fighting in 1940, but the French are now pitying us. 

You think we have just two weeks left of Trump? Think again. 

Here is the initial text of the Insurrection Act:

An Act authorizing the employment of the land and naval forces of the United States, in cases of insurrections

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in all cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws, either of the United States, or of any individual state or territory, where it is lawful for the President of the United States to call forth the militia for the purpose of suppressing such insurrection, or of causing the laws to be duly executed, it shall be lawful for him to employ, for the same purposes, such part of the land or naval force of the United States, as shall be judged necessary, having first observed all the pre-requisites of the law in that respect.

APPROVED, March 3, 1807.

So the President declares martial law. He invokes the Insurrection Act. The Military is used to secure Washington DC by the end of the week. Congress cannot safely meet. Congress cannot certify the vote of the Presidential election. The Military prevents anyone attending the inauguration on January 20, 2021. Lincoln suspended the right of Habeas Corpus, it can be done again. 

Now what?  Nothing in the Text of the Constitution about what to do about this. 


Just to be clear- they couldn't stop this knucklehead. Make no mistake about this. These people storming the Capitol are racist white supremacists. How do African Americans feel about seeing a sickening picture like this one? It makes our stomach turn.