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, February 24, 2021

YAHWEH BEN YAHWEH

 In the Rumpole abode, on Saturday nights we open a nice bottle of wine, finish off the Pasta Amatriciana-made only with guanciale (cured pig jowls) naturally, open the ice cream machine to see what we have made, and gather-round the Ipad for our favourite Podcast- For the Defense, by Mr. Markus, available where ever quality podcasts are disseminated (Apple, Spotify, Starbucks, et.al). 

And in the latest episode Mr. Markus sheds the rarified confines of federal court, where his interviewees wax poetic about the changes in the admissibility of scientific evidence from Frye to Daubert, and drill deep in the committee notes on Federal Rule of Evidence 404. Instead Mr. Markus heads to the intersection of 12th street and 12th avenues, finds some parking and enters the real  criminal courthouse where real trials have been taking place since it opened its doors circa 1960. None of this nonsense where agents sit at counsel table. The cops wait in the hallways like everyone else, until called to face the crucible of cross examination like only Rumpole can deliver it.  

It's a 305 Miami murder case that started in the 1980's with a Miami religious sect and ended with an acquittal in 1992 with famed Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Jane Weintraub defending the lead defendant Yahweh Ben Yahweh. The State-led by ASA Trudi Novicki was seeking the death penalty  Many defendants were on trial.  Some having been acquitted in federal court several months earlier were acquitted again and released. Robert Rozier, a former NFL football player was the flip who testified for the state. Rozier testified to several murders committed on the orders of Yahweh Ben Yahweh. "This case starts and ends with Rozier" REJBG legend Rayfield McGhee, who successfully defended another member of the sect on trial, told the jury in closing argument. 

It took three hours for the REGJB jury to say those sweet two words Rumpole hears many times a year: Not Guilty. 

So, gather the family around the Ipad and hook up some blue tooth speakers and be prepared to be entertained and transported to a time when we tried big murder cases, and we won them.   Mr. Markus interviews Ms. Weintraub, and its a great podcast. And don't forget to download the other episodes with interviews of Roy Black and other great criminal defense attorneys like Tom Mesereau who successfully defended Michael Jackson. In the crowded world of podcasts, this series stands out, especially in our profession. And NO, there are no plans as of now for the biggest "get" for the Podcast- your humble blogger. If the medium is the message, ours is electronic print. 

5 comments:

David Oscar Markus said...

Thanks Rumpole. What an amazing case. There are other great state cases with great lawyers... Roy Black, Jose Baez, Tom Mesereau for example. ForTheDefensePodcast.com

Anonymous said...

The truly amazing Yahweh trial was the first one with 17 defendants in Federal court in Fort Lauderdale before Rotteger. I represented one of the defendants. It was a five month trial. I had to pass on an all expense paid two week business trip with my best client to Kauai. She was invited to record with Taj Mahal at his Hawaiian studio . That was a tough choice. But the truth is, I made the right one. The trial was as entertaining as it gets with many, many memorable moments I relive often. Didn't hurt that my client was acquitted on all counts. The defense was so strong that the state declined to charge him in state court. You all should have been there to see a truly spell binding three hour closing argument by Alcee Hastings. We all broke for lunch in the middle of his closing and 16 attorneys gave him a standing ovation when he walked into the local restaurant. Those were the days my friend!

Anonymous said...

I got involved in the Federal Yahweh trial on appeal and have to agree that Alcee Hastings' closing argument was the best I've ever seen on paper--I can only imagine what it was like to be present while he made it. Rumpole--I know who posted the previous comment but don't want to reveal her identity without her permission.

Anonymous said...

7:54 You have no idea how thrilling the delivery of that closing was.

All defendants were charged with Rico and Conspiracy to Commit Rico. Many of the predicate acts included grisly murders- at least 8 murders in all-including decapitating one victim with a dull machete while the victim appeared to be still alive. Every defendant was acquitted of at least one count. Seven, including mine, were acquitted of all counts. Most were later arrested and charged in state court for the same acts.

Many foreign journalists were covering the trial, reporters from Nairobi and the London Guardian. Janet Reno frequently made an appearance. One journalist wrote a book about the case. One of the prosecutors fell in love and later married the case agent. It also appeared Judge Roettger was smitten with one of the defense witnesses.

So many other memories: like the day the defense team was passing around copies of Penthouse Magazine during court because the February 1990 issue had a multi page article about the Yahweh trial. Or the fact, noted in a Miami Herald article, of the extraordinary "coincidence" that many of the Yahweh Defense attorneys suddenly found themselves being audited by the IRS during the trial.Or the defense by one attorney that his clients brother was testifying against him because his client was a good friend of Philip Michael Thomas from Miami Vice and the brother was jealous of that relationship. Apparently, the defense worked because he was acquitted. That defendant recently achieved notoriety when he began appearing in the front row at various Trump rallies holding up a sign that said "Blacks for Trump".

Anonymous said...

Correction: The penthouse article on the Yahweh trial appeared in the February 1992 issue.

Two more tidbits:

Yahweh Ben Yahweh testified and when asked "What is your occupation?" he responded with conviction, "I am the Architect of the Universe".

I declined to give an opening. The Judge requested I approach the bench and put my reason on record. I responded " I am not able to articulate a defense at this time." M case was hopeless, so that was a correct call, one of the benefits of a long, multi-defendant trial. But one night, while shifting through the hundred of pages of Jenks material left by the government on the eve of each government witness testifying, one short sentence caught my eye " Absalom was identified in picture number 8b." When I asked for picture 8b, I discovered the picture of Absolam WAS NOT my client but another Yahweh with the same name who was not arrested. TWO ABSOLOM's! Bingo, my defense emerged and a full acquittal followed.