Wednesday, March 31, 2021


 We understand that everyone wants former officer Chauvin to be convicted, tarred, feathered, dragged through every street in the United States and be incarcerated until the sun implodes into a white dwarf. 

But where is the defense attorney??

Does Minnesota have a rule of criminal procedure that says "the rule against leading questions is suspended when prosecutors conduct redirect questioning in cases where a white police officer killed an African American Man that are televised nationwide?"

If we had a dollar for every leading question asked on redirect in this case we could buy that beach front property in Maine we have our eye on. 

And how about this exchange- as an older man is testifying and breaks down crying after seeing the video of George Floyd being arrested and killed, the prosecutor asks "what are you feeling right now?" as the witness sobs uncontrollably and then testifies that his mother recently died, as if that has anything on earth to do with this case. 

And the defense? 

Nary a peep. No objection to the "how are you feeling right now" question as the man was uncontrollably sobbing. 


 Longtime and careful readers of the blog know that one of our biggest complaints is that there needs to be a total revamping of Florida's criminal code. Many third degree felonies should be misdemeanors (most simple drug possession cases, resisting arrest with or without violence) ; many misdemeanors should be civil infractions (disorderly intoxication; disorderly conduct; loitering and prowling; possession of marijuana; expectorating on the sidewalk). Circuit Court Judges should not be trying possession of cocaine and resisting without violence cases- they have better things to do (and when we think of it we will let you know). 

This NY Times article cogently explains the problems associated with low monetary thresholds for felony theft. 45,000 Americans (or one week of deaths for Covid19 under the former president) are incarcerated for thefts under $10,000.00:

Treating what amounts to petty theft as a felony is draconian. In American society, it is difficult to recover from a felony conviction. It is hard to find work, hard to find housing, hard to rebuild a life. Incarceration is also expensive and ineffective. New York spends about $60,000 per prisoner per year, but there is little evidence the punishment deters the crime...

In a 2016 analysis, researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at 30 states that increased felony theft thresholds between 2000 and 2012. Property theft rates fell nationwide during that period; the study found no evidence that the decline was any slower in those states. The analysis also found no relationship between the level of the threshold and the level of property crime. States that set thresholds at a relatively high level, like $2,000, did not experience more property crime than states that set thresholds at a relatively low level, like $500.

We don't get out of bed for less than $10,000.00. It is time to raise the levels of a felony for theft in Florida. Give the County Court judges some meaty cases for a change. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021


We blog where others fear to tread (type?...whatever). 

Is there systemic racism in the Court system?  Everyone take a deep breath and relax. We can discuss this without becoming over emotional. 

First we look in the mirror. White male. Raised in an enlightened manner in the 1960s, where marching for civil rights was part of our culture. So far so good. But what do we know about racism? When we walk down the street at night do people cross over to the other side because they are afraid of us? Was it hard to get a cab (before Uber)?  Did judges, clients, opponents make certain judgments about us because of our skin color? NO. So how can we understand racism when we have never walked a mile in the shoes of our colleagues and friends who have experienced  racism?  Have we experienced privilege because of our race? Perhaps.  We are self made. Working multiple jobs and taking classes at night to get into law school, and then working every day since the first day of law school. But did we have opportunities to get ahead economically because of our race? Most likely. 

So we do not understand racism at the gutter or gut level of someone who has experienced it.  It is like being shot at- you cannot truly understand the fear until the bullet whistles by your head and explodes into something behind you. Then comes the  sleepless nights years later, wondering why the bullet missed. Try and make someone understand what it is like  to bite into a lemon, or sip a cold beer on a hot weekend in a frosted glass. You can describe the experience, but not understand it until you have lived it. 

Does that mean we cannot talk about racism and try and help eradicate it? No. But when we say that a particular experience or institution is not racist, some of our colleagues react in anger. "What do you know about racism?" they will say or yell. And we will respond "So you mean to tell me you are singled out for a enhanced search almost every time you walk in (this particular) courthouse?" "Yes". 

Now lets translate that into what we do. The police stopped a car and pulled everyone out and searched them. The occupants were African American. Racism? Aggressive policing? Professional Policing? How can we tell? Should a Judge factor a defendant's race into their decision on a stop or search? 

Two eighteen year old young men are sentenced for fighting with their girlfriend and taking her phone and breaking it. Each defendant has a girlfriend of the opposite race. Wanna bet who gets the higher sentence? If the Judge is sentencing one to a stiffer sentence unconsciously, how do we stop this? How do we look inside ourselves and understand our unconscious prejudices? 

Many years ago we represented a middle aged Hispanic man accused of sexually molesting his girlfriend's niece. He showed up in our office in a white short sleeved dress shirt and black tie. His face was pasty, scarred with acne. He wore thick glasses, was balding with thin greasy hair,  and had a nervous tick and he just LOOKED like a child molester, whatever that means. Our legal assistant and young associate both females, could not stand to be around him. And after investigating the case we realized he was 100% innocent. He just looked guilty. We were able to hire someone to change how he dressed and looked, tried the case, kept him far away from the jury and he was acquitted. But we knew going into the case we were dealing with jurors unconscious perceptions. 

Isn't that the real battle these days? The unconscious perceptions about race. Pick two heart surgeons. Both age 50. Fit. Good looking. Distinguished. Each has an air of confidence. One is a female African American. One is a white male. Based on appearances alone,  who would be selected as the better surgeon? How can we change unconscious perceptions and prejudices that have no bearing on reality? 

So what does that mean for the Chauvin trial? By all appearances he killed George Floyd. And for that he should be convicted and punished. But lets change the facts slightly. Lets say he didn't use excessive force. He knelt on Floyd for ten seconds, called for help, had him cuffed and Floyd died anyway and after a trial Chauvin is acquitted. Is it another example of a justice system devaluing the life of a man because of his race? Or do we fix all the prior inequities of the past on Chauvin's back? That is what really worries us. That two wrongs do not make a right. That is why we are worried about this case. 

And yet... a colleague we very much respect replied to us the other day "Where were you when my family members were being lynched? Did anyone care about those wrongs? All of the sudden you care about  justice when this country has had injustice for as long as it has been in existence?" 

We could go on and on. But you get the point, so have at it. 

Monday, March 29, 2021


 The trial of former Minnesota Police Officer charged in the killing of George Floyd has begun.  Opening statements were given.  Can anyone explain to us how Mr. Chauvin will receive a fair trial? There are protests calling for his conviction. The prosecution has every possible lesser included as a charge. There is a spoken belief that an acquittal will cause the state and the country to erupt in flames. Jurors are under pressure. So is the Judge.  

Do not talk to us about what Mr. Chauvin did and how he deserves to be convicted. If that was our thought process then we would be a prosecutor. We are not prosecutors. We stand for those who no one else will stand for. KKK members. Nazi sympathizers who want to march in Jewish neighborhoods. Terrorists, Islamic, white supremacists, whatever. The more offensive the conduct, the more we need to be on guard and insist that the constitution be scrupulously followed.  

Outside of our job, which is really a life calling, we deplore violent police officers. We have had way too many clients whose noses were broken, eyes swollen shut, and were told they fell down or repeatedly hit their head on the cell bars. Query: How many city of Miami or Miami Beach police officers does it take to throw a defendant down a flight of stairs? Answer- None, he fell on his own. 

So do not talk to us about right and wrong. Talk to us about how Mr. Chauvin has a snowball's chance in the Suez Canal of getting a fair trial? Because we do not see it. 

And speaking of the Suez Canal, the Ever Whatever was floated and is now being moved. Hurray! 

Saturday, March 27, 2021


 This is NOT the statement of the US Attorney for the Southern District Of Florida who just resigned. You can find her statement here- a pabulum of "We did our best, I am very proud, we were tough on crime...yada yada yada (yawn) "  Nothing new under the sun. Won't be quoted as much as McArthur's farewell address: "Duty. Honor. Country... But I want you to know that when I cross over that river, my last conscious thoughts will be the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps." 

NOT the statement of the departing US Attorney:

When I accepted the nomination to be the first senate confirmed female US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, I had some soul searching to do. Would I want to be nominated by a man who routinely sexually assaulted women, bragged about grabbing them by their genitalia, engaged in a massive coverup to pay off a pornographic star that would result in his personal attorney going to prison, and was generally considered a sexist lout? 

Would I want to be a public servant nominated by Senator Joe McCarthy? Would I have accepted an appointment to be sheriff of Tuscaloosa Alabama by Governor George Wallace? Would I have deployed my officers to protect Wallace  as he stood in the door of the University of Alabama to bar entry to African American students seeking an education?  Is there is any job worth having where you have to accept appointment by a person who has no  concept of what General McArthur called "Duty. Honor. Country? By  a person who dodged the Vietnam draft and ridiculed soldiers who fought and died for their county? 

What about the ideals  of the Justice Department? Was I comfortable with a department who had gone from Attorney General Eric Holder's edict that line prosecutors did not have to indict every defendant for the most serious crime, to a DOJ under Jeff Sessions that sought maximum incarceration on every case? Was I comfortable with a DOJ that went back to prosecuting marijuana cases in the United States in this day and age?

How much are someone's principles worth versus a job they want? This was the choice I was confronted with. Of course one could say that being on the "inside" I could fight for the changes we all know are necessary. But in looking back over my term in office, I did no such thing. It was business as usual. "Follow the guidelines judge. Impose the minimum mandatory. Send the kid to prison for decades if you can. It is what we as representatives of the United States want for this marijuana case."  That's what my office did. We were tough on crime by golly. None of that "enlightened justice" crap for us. 

How did it feel to be a member of a government where the President of the United States believed the DOJ was his own personal law firm? Where the President fired the director of the FBI because he would not pledge his personal loyalty to the president instead of the country. Well let me ask you this- do you remember that FBI director's name now? (It was James Comey  if you forgot). He made a principled stand and what is he up to now? I served as US Attorney and now I have a big money career at a large law firm waiting for me. What does Coney get for his stand? What do principles buy you except a good nights sleep? They don't pay for a Condo in St. Barts and a private jet to fly you there. 

Of course if everyone stood up for their principles and refused to join a government run by a moronic fool who nearly killed us all by ignoring a pandemic then maybe we could all have forced some much needed change. But I am no fool. I was not going to put my neck out first. All that would have happened is that it would have gotten chopped off.  Sure Israel honors non-Jews who hid Jewish families during Nazism as the "Righteous Among Nations" but what if those people were discovered? They were sent off to concentration camps as well. Who wants that? 

I made no principled stand. I took the nomination and there was not one thing that President Trump ever did that made me consider resigning. In for a penny. In for a pound.  I towed the DOJ line and took criminal and prosecution and sentencing several steps backwards. I worked for a President who was impeached twice and inspired a group of white militant racists to storm the Capitol and try and stop the certification of Joe Biden as President. A President who in other words wanted a coup d'etat and bullied and threatened public servants in Georgia to try and "find votes" for him to thwart the will of the people. I walked into my office every day under the gaze of President Trump's picture and it did not bother me one bit. You all elected him. 

It was an honor to be your US attorney. At least it was for me. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021


 There is  a crime here for putting a 15 year old boy in solitary confinement for 18 years. The people who did this should be prosecuted and punished. What kind of society does this to their children? 

Here is the NY Times Article  on how Florida locked 15 year old Ian Manuel in a room for 18 years with no human contact. How he was brutalized physically and mentally. 

As a 15-year-old, I was condemned to long-term solitary confinement in the Florida prison system, which ultimately lasted for 18 consecutive years. From 1992 to 2010. From age 15 to 33. From the end of the George H.W. Bush administration to the beginnings of the Obama era.

For 18 years I didn’t have a window in my room to distract myself from the intensity of my confinement. I wasn’t permitted to talk to my fellow prisoners or even to myself. I didn’t have healthy, nutritious food; I was given just enough to not die.


On occasion, I purposely overdosed on Tylenol so that I could spend a night in the hospital. For even one night, it was worth the pain.

Another time, I was told I’d be switching dorms, and I politely asked to remain where I was because a guard in the new area had been overly aggressive with me. In response, four or five officers handcuffed me, picked me up by my feet and shoulders, and marched with me to my new dorm — using my head to ram the four steel doors on the way there. When we reached my new cell, they dropped me face-first onto the concrete floor. Cheek pressed to the cold concrete, I lay there, staring at the blank wall, shaking in fear and pain. I couldn’t believe I was still alive.

I served 18 consecutive years in isolation because each minor disciplinary infraction — like having a magazine that had another prisoner’s name on the mailing label — added an additional six months to my time in solitary confinement. The punishments were wholly disproportionate to the infractions. Before I knew it, months in solitary bled into years, years into almost two decades.

What kind of special evil people do this to a child? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


 The call came in the middle of the afternoon on our cell phone. It was a 954 area code that we did not recognize. Perhaps a new case? Rumpole is ever the optimist. 

"Hello, May I speak with Horace Rumpole?"


"Good afternoon, this is Broward Health Services, we have a vaccine for you, can you be at one of our hospitals tomorrow?"

"I am sorry....where did you say you were calling from?"

"Health services..."

"Yes, but did you say...ummm...Broward?"

"Yes, will you be available tomorrow for a Covid19 Vaccine?"

Oh the ignominy of it all. A year of fear. A year of hiding from the virus, overseas, and then at home, a Rumpolian bunker of books and music and wine. Food and supplies delivered from Amazon, and Instacart, and a variety of delivery services with esoteric names.  The vaccine- the golden key to a return to normal life. A return to prowling the Courtrooms of the empty REGJB- courtrooms just waiting for us to leap to our feet with an objection...to corner elusive witnesses... "J'Accuse! You saw nothing!"

All of this relief delivered by ....Broward? That County of perpetually scowling people. That County that houses a courthouse where prosecutors have routinely said "I know your client is innocent, but my supervisor said to let the jury decide". Where Judges would drawl "Ah don know you counsel. Ah suspect you're from Mi..am...ah...but up here we do things a bit different. Now on your bond motion, bonds are like elevators. They can go up and they can go down. And if you want me to review this here bond, ah might just reckon to rhaise it as much as you would like to me lower it." And this occurring after being the last case called on the calendar although our client was on page two of thirty-four. Broward, that land of large egos and small doses of justice is now offering us the coveted Covid19 vaccine. 

No skipping the line for us. In January  went on various websites and registered as we were told to do. Age- over 50. Health- very good- knee gives us a twinge if we push it too hard on a hike or run; sometimes an acid stomach, but less these days since we haven't been in court in a year. 

A brief pause in the conversation as we pondered all that we have written. But in war sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And Covid was the enemy and the vaccine was the enemy of Covid, and Broward had it, and there is only so far we are willing to go to support our ideals. Of course we could wear a wig and fake glasses and moustache so we wouldn't be recognized. Perhaps the mask of one of the former chief Judges of North of Border that we would wear at Halloween parties that was a big hit. It was in the closet somewhere. 

"OK, I will be there tomorrow. Thank you." 

And so we went were eagles fear to fly. Into the heart of darkness. The death star of justice. And to our surprise Broward Hospitals are nothing like the courthouse. People were professional and pleasant and smiling and happy to be at their job. Our name was on a list, and unlike every other time we went north of our safe boarders we were not called last! The operation was swift and efficient and a nice young woman gave us a Jab and we were sent off for cookies and juice and some observation. The next day we had a sore arm, but a smiling sticker that said "I was vaccinated today." 

We got our first Jab this past weekend. 

In Broward. 

Now as Bruce Springsteen sometimes ad libs in live performances of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out "This here is the important part": 

Thank You...(deep breath) Broward. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


 There are ten people who are dead today who were alive yesterday when they went shopping in Boulder, Colorado. One of those who was murdered was Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley- 51 years of age, he leaves SEVEN children to grow up without a father.  Officer Talley was THE first responder- the first officer on the scene, arriving to protect his fellow citizens, he paid with his life. 

People who object to any governmental controls over the sale of firearms will often argue that the way to protect against mass murder spree shootings is to arm more people. 

Here is our response- Officer Talley was armed. He was trained. And he was murdered in cold blood by a person with an AR15 rifle. 

This shooting comes as we barely began to raise our flags that were at half mast for the victims of the shootings in Atlanta. 

Enough is enough. 

We now take our lives into our hands when we go to the supermarket, a movie theater, and all too tragically- a school. 

There is a virus loose. There is a pandemic that indiscriminately kills innocent citizens, police officers, and children. And it is called FIREARMS.  

Why do we willingly devote billions of dollars to use our best and brightest people to create a vaccine in record time to protect us against Covid19, and not spend one dollar to stop gun violence? 


Monday, March 22, 2021


 We start with a problem that has an easy solution. How many millions of dollars does the Miami Dade County Clerk's Office spend on these?  

What to do? What to do? Hmm....it's 2021....what could help solve this problem and disrupt the way the Clerk's office has been doing things since 1919?

WAIT! The internet might just help....AND WAIT.....THIS THING CALLED EMAIL MIGHT BE OF ASSISTANCE and hang on....(slight interruption with the phone ringing) AND WHAT DO PEOPLE HAVE IN THEIR HANDS 16 HOURS A DAY? THEIR PHONES !

Now let's try and put all the pieces of the puzzle together and fix this ornery problem. The internet, and email and phones...hmmm... people get arrested and have to give out their information including their phone number. Can we ask for their email? Don't see why not. Now, with that email and phone number could we create a database on the internet and add those valuable pieces of information into the system?  It seems doable. NASA put a robot on Mars. Georgia managed to hide several million Trump votes and not get caught. The technology seems feasible to do it better, faster.... (Cue 6 Million Dollar Man opening below). 

With an email alert to a court date AND a text message, could we save millions of dollars in postage and acres of landfill and make our postperson's job a bit easier? Why by Jove I think we'e got it. 

The feds do not send out little postcards that take engineers with doctorate degrees twenty minutes to open and they seem to have no problem with failures to appear. 

And this is even WORSE for us to admit- our cousins north of the border provide a written notice of the next court hearing whilst the defendant is in court. What does this save?....anyone....Bueller?.....anyone? POSTAGE - with written notice received in court, the Clerk's office doesn't have to mail notice to the lawyers and clients. 

We have spent a year mostly not issuing bench warrants and ACs and the world is still spinning. Bondmen now routinely use text messaging APPs to alert clients of upcoming court dates, why can't the clerk's office do the same?

BUT WAIT the naysayers are naysaing. What about those .0001% of cases where the defendant does not show and the bondsperson contests the forfeiture?  We cannot update the system, save millions of dollars in postage, save on greenhouse gases and help cool the planet because in ten cases next year the court will not be able to estreat the $5,000 bond for the defendant who is charged with possession of marijuana and resisting with violence. Sorry, good idea, but we might lose that estreature case on a notice issue,  and we need that five grand so keep spending those millions and filling those landfills. 

(They may also say the Rules of Judicial Administration and Dead Sea Scrolls require notice to be mailed. We have searched the elusive ROJA-DSS and not found any such rule, but then again the ROJA-DSS are constructed to prevent a logical search and reading of the document.) 

There will be a workaround to the notice issue. Defendant's will sign a paper before release affirming their contact information. If they change it and miss a court date they lose their bond, pure and simple. 

So let's recap. There is a problem that costs a lot of money. Technology can solve it and save money, save landfill, save on greenhouse gasses and in general make the whole thing better and more efficient. And therefore the reason this giant inefficient bureaucracy has not changed is because...drum roll please....


Oh. Sorry we brought this up. 


We suspect Mr. Ruvin will say that if attorneys go on the clerk's website they can sign up for electronic notice. We have seen that that  function DOES NOT stop the clerk from mailing those evil little notices no one can open without tearing the actual information. At the very least Dade should transition to in-court written notices AND STOP spending money on those ridiculous mailers. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021


 Here is all you need to know about the Peach State:

You can legally buy a gun, receive it the same day and commit mass murder- as we have just seen. The shooter in the most recent case bought the gun on the day he went off. 

The Georgia legislature is currently debating a law to prohibit voting on the same day of registration. 


Buy a gun get it same day and kill a whole bunch of people- OK in Georgia. (The right is in the bible somewhere)

Register to vote AND vote on same day- NO WAY (A communist Democratic LGBQT Vegan Liberal Clinton California Chinese-Mexican immigrant Covid-mask wearing Fauci  plot to undermine our American Democratic values of shoot to kill). 

That's all you need to know about our northern border state. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021


 What's in a name? Why in Taiwan it's free sushi- apologies to our beloved Bard who notably wrote " Tis but thy name that is my enemy....What's in a name? Would not a rose by any other name smell as sweet?"  (Juliet to Romeo,  Act II, Scene II, Romeo And Juliet)

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet and taste as tasty as free sushi? 

In Taiwan a person can change their name three times for free. 

Enter Taiwan Sushiro which offered free all you can eat sushi to anyone with the name Gui Yu in their name, which means...Salmon. Since Taiwan allows three free name changes, SALMON CHAOS has occurred with the government issuing an official request to the good citizens of Taiwan to stop changing their name which is swamping the Taiwan Government's name change bureau. 

Anyone with a national identity card with the name Gui Yu  in it can waltz into the national sushi chain and have a full meal for free. All you can eat. One enterprising young man brings his friends, and charges them half the menu price for the free food he orders and has to date made over $2,000.00, which when the promotion ends and he changes his name back, will buy him a lot more sushi.  The late REGJB Judge Michael Salmon, a true legal scholar, would have enjoyed a trip to the Island nation and free sushi (although we have no idea if he even liked fish). 

Here is the article on the Salmon Chaos in Taiwan. 

And coming Monday.....a problem in the clerk's office that technology could solve. What will be the result?  

Friday, March 19, 2021


 We do not practice civil law. Cross summary judgement motions on bond defaults are not in our DNA (but a hotly contested slip-n-fall on a wayward pomegranate in Fresco y Mas does sound enticing). 

This opinion crossed our virtual desk and Judge Presnell is to be commended as the type of judge we need to put our unruly civil colleagues in their place. 

Avista Management Inc v Wausau Underwriters Ins Co by HR on Scribd

Thursday, March 18, 2021


There are important matters, and then there is DV in Miami (dramatic drumroll please). They're back baby (although you can get into PC trouble by calling some segments of society who aren't less than a year old "baby") and they have some very serious rules for Jury selection. They aren't picking jurors in Fed court until July (those pikers) but you can stroll down the street in your trial suit and shinned shoes and pick six at the Lawson Courthouse for the unfortunate domestic travails of Mr and Ms, or Ms and Ms, or Mr and Mr Miami (we've covered all the permutations right? It's 2! (2x1+1) ). 



     Beginning Thursday, March 11, 2021 and every THURSDAY thereafter, an assigned Domestic Violence Division Judge will cover juror prequalification via Zoom for misdemeanor trials scheduled the following Monday. (Sound familiar? They used to do this in the Keys between Stone Crabs, Margaritas and Key Lime Pie). 

  Prequalification will be for language and scheduling conflicts only.

 (Q: Do you speak English? A: Que? 
Q: Do you have any scheduling conflicts for Monday? 
A: We have a cruise scheduled and then are planning to take the rest of the month off to recover from Covid19). 

    Jurors will appear via Zoom in 2 groups:  one group of 25 at 2:15 PM and a second group of 25 at 3:15 PM. (A Bailiff in a black coat and bow tie will be available. Shake his or her hand and slip them something and you can get a better seat for the 3:15 show. Think Joes, but no big bill at the end and no bib). 

 Jury Pool will provide the 2 panels of 25 (50 total) to the DV Division on Tuesday mornings the week before the scheduled Monday trial.  The information provided by jury pool will include juror contact information and the juror questionnaires. (So the jurors will be questioned solely by a judge, relying  on the skills they honed picking hundreds of juries in their storied legal career when they tried every case and only asked for a continuance once.)

 N Notification of the juror prequalification via Zoom will be sent out to the jurors by Jury Pool. (It's like winning Lotto and finding out the rest of New Jersey also had the same numbers.)  Additionally, the assigned DV Judge’s staff will send out an email to the jurors which includes Zoom information, date, time and additional instructions.  The State Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender and any private attorneys set for trial on Monday will also be invited to the Thursday juror prequalification session.  Appearance by the defendants is welcome but not required. (Jurors questioned outside the presence of the defendant. Oh we do not see any problems with this-  and speaking of good ideas maybe we could do it on one of those Zeppelins. We hear the Hindenburg is well apportioned. ). 

 In addition to the Thursday juror prequalification sessions, the covering Judge’s staff will also attempt to reach out to the jurors via phone and host a juror Zoom training session on Wednesdays for those who need assistance with Zoom prior to the Thursday juror prequalification sessions.   (Oh yes. We want JAs speaking privately with jurors. They won't take our calls to schedule cases so it is not like they are busy. And their people skills? Puhleeeze. But wait! It doesn't say JA's- it says "Judge's staff" So that includes the Bailiff and maybe Rick or Maria, the cleaning personnel at night: "So then when you log on, the buttons at the bottom are for your video and your microphone. Potential Juror: "Thanks so much, you're great at this. Do you work for the Court's technical division? No- I clean up at night and am just pitching in.").  

 Once juror prequalification is completed on Thursday afternoon, the Judge’s staff will provide a list to jury pool of: (a) jurors who failed to appear on Thursday; and (b) jurors who do not qualify due to language and jurors struck for cause due to scheduling conflicts (and Jurors burning up with fever from Covid19). Jury Pool will then remove these jurors from the 2 panels and provide a panel of 27 randomly assigned jurors to report on Monday from those remaining. Jury pool will send this list of 27 jurors to the trial judge as soon as possible so it may be distributed to the attorneys along with the questionnaires. (Define "soon as possible". In our world "soon as possible"  can mean like corrections responding to an order to release a defendant, meaning within a week or two.)

Jurors (27) will be instructed to report for in person jury selection on the following Monday at 9:30 AM.  (Jurors who do not believe in masks and hate Dr. Fauci are automatically acceptable to the prosecution). The remaining jurors form the 2 panels will remain on standby to report on Tuesday morning as needed. 

This is post 4,279 (really).  How do we do it, you ask? By this time we know if we are struggling with ideas that turn into superb content we  just wait,  confident that one of our  black-robbed friends will issue some order of interest and then we are off to the races. (And in an emergency there is always Broweird). Today it was DV, tomorrow it will be....probate? 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021




"Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates" ......

It was reported in The Guardian this week that Israeli archaeologists have unearthed two dozen Dead Sea scroll fragments from a remote cave in the Judean Desert. The biblical scroll bits of parchment were found after teams rappelled down an 80 metre cliff and scoured The Cave of Horror. It is believed that the scrolls have been there since approximately AD132. The scrolls found were Greek translations of the books of Zachariah and Nahum. One fragment read:

“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates” Powerful words that could be hung over every bench in every courtroom in our own Gerstein Justice Building.


One year from now, candidates will be qualifying to run for Circuit and County Court Judge in Miami-Dade County.  But, after having already received no less than a dozen invites to campaign fundraisers within just the past couple of weeks, we thought we would share the list of Incumbent Judges and likely races.


A total of 23 Incumbents:

William Altfield - has communicated with me that he intends to file for re-election

Barbara Areces - intends to file for re-election

Ramiro Areces - FILED for re-election

Jennifer Bailey - FILED 

Gina Beovides - has not responded to my requests so we have no idea of her intentions

Scott Bernstein - intends to file for re-election

Mark Blumstein - intends to file for re-election

Samantha Ruiz Cohen - FILED

Laura Shearon Cruz - intends to file for re-election

Marcia Del Rey - we have no idea of her intentions

Christina DiRaimondo - FILED 

Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos - intends to file for re-election

Milton Hirsch - FILED

Zachary James - FILED

Lody Jean - FILED

Thomas Rebull - FILED

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts - we have no idea of his intentions

George Sarduy - intends to file for re-election

Nushin Sayfie - FILED

Bertila Soto - intends to file for re-election

William Thomas - we have no idea of his intentions

Robert Watson - FILED

David Young - intends to file for re-election


A total of 15 Incumbents:

Cristina Rivera Correa - we have no idea of her intentions

Miesha Darrough - intends to file for re-election

Elisabeth Espinosa - intends to file for re-election

Carlos Gamez - we have no idea of his intentions

Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson - intends to file for re-election

Ayana Harris - we have no idea of her intentions

Chiaka Ihekwaba - intends to file for re-election

Scott Janowitz - intends to file for re-election

Carroll Kelly - FILED

Jeffrey Kolokoff - intends to file for re-election

Linda Diaz - we have no idea of her intentions

Julie Nelson - FILED

Fred Seraphin - we have no idea of his intentions

Diana Vizcaino - we have no idea of her intentions

JUDGE Edward Newman, we believe, is retiring, and an attorney has already filed to run in his Group 7 seat. That attorney is Marcus Bach Armas. He has been a member of the The Florida Bar for 12 years and he is listed as corporate counsel for the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. (https://bacharmas.com/).

So, loyal readers, which incumbent Judges deserve to face opposition in the next election?


Tuesday, March 16, 2021


From the Captain:  

COVID-19 ADVISORY #74 [AMENDED] SELF-MONITORING NOTICE An individual who worked in the location and on the dates listed below has tested positive for COVID-19. Persons identified as having been in close proximity to the confirmed individual are being notified and will be asked to take all necessary precautions. Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, 175 NW 1st Ave.: Room 1840 on Feb. 25-26, 2021 and March 1-3, 2021 Room 1815 on March 1, 2021 Last date worked: March 3, 2021 Persons who were in these locations recently should follow self-monitoring steps for the next 14 days as outlined in the Centers for Disease Control website.

The time when these advisories will be tempered with the statement that "those who have been fully vaccinated do not need to isolate and should closely monitor their health for any signs of Covid" is not far off. 


There are two conflicting actions occurring at the same time: 

Item: Republicans want to win back the House, Senate, and White House/

Item: A majority of Republican men do not want to take the "beautiful" Covid 19 vaccine that President Trump personally invented in the White House basement lab during his free time. 

Conclusion: Without the taking the vaccine, many Republicans will die, lessoning the number of people who can vote Republican, hindering their chances of re-taking the House, Senate, and White House. 

As Ayn Rand famously said, "Contradictions do not exist. When you see one, check your premises, one of them will be wrong." 

You apply that to this- we do not have the time to do all of your work for you. 

Monday, March 15, 2021


 Boxing is called "the sweet science". But there is also a level of brutality, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler exemplified both as one of the greatest middle weight champions of all time. Hagler died this past weekend suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in New Hampshire at age 66. 

Watching him train, Champ Joe Frazier told Hagler in 1980  he had three problems: "You're great. You're black. And you're a left hander." 

Hagler grew up in Newark, New Jersey and lived through the 1967 race riots until his mother moved the family to Brockton, Mass, where Hagler worked construction for the Petrocelli Brothers who also trained fighters. It took 50 bouts for Hagler to get a title shot, and then, in a brutal 15 round match against Champ Vito Antuofermo, the Judges stole it from Hagler and called it a draw. It took the intervention of  Senator Ted Kennedy of all people to get Hagler another title shot, which occurred in London, England, against Alan Minter. "No black man will take my title" Minter said, until Hagler stopped him cold in the third round. The British crowd reacted by throwing bottles and cans and Hagler was hustled out of the ring, becoming the only champion to never be given his belt in the ring. But of course, there is no racism in England, right Meaghan and Harry? 

Hagler remained Middleweight champ for seven years until the Judges again stole his title by giving a controversial and much derided decision to Sugar Ray Leonard, in perhaps one of the worst judged championship fights of all time. But along the way Hagler beat the great Robert Duran (watching Duran sneer at Hagler at the end of the 15th round where Hagler had knocked him around the ring is a great insight into the ornery and bullying champion Duran was), and defended his title against all comers, including, the great Tommy Hearns. 

This may have been the golden age of welterweight/middleweight boxing with Duran, Leonard, Hearns, and Hagler all battling for titles. Hearns was tall with long arms and a rocket right hand that stopped most of his opponents. 

Round One Hagler/Hearns in Las Vegas  1985 is widely considered the greatest round in boxing history. Period, Full stop. Let that sink in. We have it here for you to watch. Hagler ended the round with a cut over his left eye. In round two the boxers re-grouped a bit, recovering from the non-stop brutality in round one. In round three the referee stopped the fight for the fight doctor to examine Hagler's cut. Realizing that once again he may have his title stolen from him, Hagler reached down into the place where only champions go, and stopped Tommy Hearns with a barrage of right hands that sent Hearns down for the count. 

Hagler legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler when ring announcers refused to introduce him as he had requested. When he title was stolen from him in the Leonard bout, he quit boxing and went to Italy where he had a successful movie career.  The decision may have saved him from the bitter ending of many of his contemporaries who age with slurred speech and diminished mental capacities.

 Hagler was always the outsider. A black man who didn't play ball and did things his own way. With his bullet shaved head (Telly Savalas was in his locker room for support for the Minter fight in England) and scowl, he fought his way into the title he so richly deserved and then kept it for seven years, showing the world the greatness he always had. 

Hagler was a tremendous athlete, a great champion and a man unbowed who did things his way. He is to be admired and celebrated, coming from an era of overt racism that defeated men not as tenacious as he. 

Here is the greatest round in boxing history. Hagler/Hearns round one. Caesars Palace 1985. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021


 Blasphemy! That should be the title of a NY Times article that waxes rhapsodic over the bagel scene in....(steady now) Los  Angeles. New Yorkers concede nothing to their west coast cousins, even the existence of a rivalry. A Jet fan would rather buy Bill Belichick a cup of coffee than admit to anything in La La land being better than in Queens. 

Ask Rumpole and we would tell you about a little hole-in-the-wall on Kings Highway that had a red neon sign that blinked "hot" when the bagels were just out of the oven, or a myriad of old-time delis and bagel joints on Second Avenue on the lower east side.

And yet the article raves about the circular treats from the ovens of Boichik bagels   ,  Daily Diver Yeastieboys , and  good old Maury's. 

We have nothing in Miami that compares, do we? 


If you missed it, Carl Hiaasen wrote his last column for the Miami Herald this past week. Mr. Hiaasen started writing for the Herald when Miami was a sleepy southern town. Cocaine and cash had not yet hit Miami, and Mr. Hiassen was in the perfect position to report and opine on the amazing rollercoaster ride the Magic City was about to partake in. There would be corruption galore (which always seems to follow cash) and absurdity like only we can do here in Miami. 

Opinion writing and columns mixing news reporting and opinion is a lost art. It is what we do here, which is why we are available if El Herald is looking for a replacement (hint hint). Surely we covered the Covid19-Miami Court crisis and response better than anyone else did; with panache', style, outrage, and damning faint praise. The Herald could do worse. 

The loss of Mr. Hiaasen's work is another nail in the written media's coffin. If reporters aren't snooping around backwater city counsel meetings, then corruption flourishes like mushrooms in darkness. There is no one left to expose the corruption and incompetence. There is only so much time we can devote to the judges who take three martini lunches at Joes (with Key Lime Pie) and then pawn the bill off on some unsuspecting lunch companion. We are busy running a thriving law practice. 

So send us Miami's Best Bagels and start emailing the Herald to look no further than this website for award winning legal blogging.

 Happy Sunday. 

UPDATE: Tomorrow we remember Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the great middleweight boxing champ who unexpectedly died this weekend, and the singular greatest round in boxing history: Hagler/Hearns round one, Las Vegas, 1985. 

Friday, March 12, 2021


 Can lawyers advertise they are "Pitbulls"? 


Lawyer Robert Pelletier is facing a BAR complaint for doing just that. 

Here is the ABA Journal reporting on the case and quoting our own expert Brian "  The Eagle" Tanenbaum:

Brian Tannebaum, who handles ethics cases and white-collar defense at Bast Amron in Miami, told the publication that he isn’t a fan of ads that use pit bulls or sharks. But he said restrictions can lead to questions of consistency.

“I believe in letting the clients decide who they want to hire,” Tannebaum said. “Some clients want a pit bull, and I think they know they’re not actually getting a lawyer that is going to bite someone.”

Personally, we like "Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!"

The Bar (cue ominous music) complaint:

2021-316 Petition 77493 Complaint by HR on Scribd

Thursday, March 11, 2021


 One year ago on March 11, 2020, our world began shutting down. The virus was ripping through society, through Florida, through Miami, and through the REGJB. The Captain posted the first of what would be many court advisories on Covid19 being in the courthouse. We were railing at the judges to shut down the courts, which is something that they would soon do.  

Here is part of our post on that very scary day: 

Fear is rippling through the REGJB, which is not surprising since the court system leaders completely ignored our entreaties weeks ago to scale back the court system. 
Stay tuned here and we will keep you updated. Here is what we know: 

Judge De La O declared a mistrial in a trial that began on Monday  when a person working in the courtroom became ill. That person will be tested if the flu-like symptoms continue for 48 hours. We will keep you updated on this. 

There is also an issue with Judge Benevides courtroom/staff. 

Tom Hanks has tested positive for covid-19. 

The NBA has suspended the season after a player tested positive. 

The value in looking back is to learn what we did right and what we did wrong and what were the issues that may have delayed the decision making. 

Clearly the issue confronting our Judiciary and Judges Soto (state) and Moore (feds) was how could the courts shut down? We had some limited experience in Miami with shutting down for a few days because of hurricanes, but this was a shut down that had no end in sight. How many of you had Zoom on your computers on March 11, 2020? How many of you had even heard of Zoom?

It took a few days, but our chief judges and the State administrative judges did the heavy lifting. Carlos Martinez and Kathy Rundle worked together (as they should and often do) and they got our creaky 1970's court technology into the second decade of the 21st century and we were soon up and running with virtual hearings. The State worked with the PDs and the defense and the Judiciary to get as many people out of jails as they could safely do. The feds were about to be hit with a Tsunami of compassionate release motions and the fed judges and their clerks went to work researching the law and writing opinions, and saving lives by releasing defendants. 

What should come out of this last year are many lessons. First, we can now switch quickly from in person to virtual hearings if needed in the future (and we will need to be able to do so). Second, some form of virtual hearings are here to stay. We need to keep people out of courthouses. The single mom working her third job as a Starbucks barista does not need to miss a day of work to show up for a misdemeanor calendar call. She can step outside and handle it on her phone in ten minutes. Less people coming to court means less crowds, less cars on the road, more work productivity. Civil lawyers (near and dear to our cold, black, heart) should not have to trek in from Kendall for those five minute motion hearings to compel answers to plaintiff and cross-co-plaintiff-intervenor's second set of interrogatories on the slip-n-fall at Fresco-y- Mas. 

And finally there is this- our prosecutors and judges should re-think incarceration. On the federal side, many  massive sentences to defendants in drug cases were reduced. A young woman sentenced to forty years in at age 30, now at age 60 seemed less of a threat and her further incarceration seemed needless.  No good would come out of keeping  her in prison for another 10 years. On the state side the need for pre-trial incarceration was dialed back. Any Hollywood-type tragedies emerge from letting some poor homeless guy charged with burglary of an occupied vehicle when he reached inside a car and grabbed a Big Mac out of jail? Did he steal another Whopper? 

There was a brief influx of a level of humanity into a criminal justice system that has diligently worked since the 1980s to remove humanity from the decision making process:  "I know it's your first offense at age 50 but there is a twenty year minimum mandatory for this drug possession and only the state can waive it...I know the sentence seems harsh counsel, but the potential loss amount was 100 million dollars, and that elevated the guidelines even though your client only was paid five thousand dollars." In both cases the judges then say "there is nothing I can do". 

Maybe one lesson of Covid 19 is to give some decision making on sentencing  back to judges and away from prosecutors.  Our judges surprised everyone by being more than competent to move us through this shut-down year. They kept the courts open; they made tough decisions and they saved lives.  

Maybe we should start trusting judges more. (We know, we know...we make a living take cheap shots at those who wear black robes at work. But we tell it like it is). 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021


 With all do respect to his learned colleague Judge De La O (a phrase sure to send Mr. Markus and his cohort Judge De La O into a paroxysm),  Judge Milt Hirsch writes an opinion for Rumpole in his battle for the soul  of the legal profession. 

As you may know, Judge De La O weighed in on Twitter, ruling for Mr. Markus. We had no idea the case had been assigned to him. But the battle is not over. As Judge Hirsch has written an opinion as well and we include it here. Judge Hirsch could have been recused. For a period of time he shared space with Mr. Markus. But we trust his judgment and filed no motion.

De La O wrote:  Comes now the Court to rule. You are a great lawyer, Rumpole. You put up a strong fight in a losing battle. O'Marcus is not only right, he made his case succinctly. You were more entertaining, but he wins handily.

Judge Hirsch responds with his own (brilliant) opinion in the matter: 

On “opinion day,” some Supreme Court justices read their opinions aloud from the bench.  
That wasn’t Chief Justice Earl Warren’s practice.  
He just filed his opinions with the clerk, and that was that.

Except on May 17, 1954.  

On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Warren read aloud to a packed and hushed courtroom
 every word of his opinion in a case called Brown v. Topeka Board of Education.
  nd he read with particular emphasis the four words appearing at the end of that opinion:

“It is so ordered.”

Of course those four words add nothing to the content of the opinion.  They do not alter or 
add to its import or analysis.  In that sense – and only in that sense – they could be dismissed
 as the sort of “legalese” the value of which the two of you are debating.  

But to anyone who has, as the two of you do, a sense of history;
 an ear for rhetoric; and a feeling for that indefinable but invaluable thing called 
“the majesty of the law,”  those four words sounded forth the trumpet that can 
never call retreat.  They were a clap of silent thunder that we still struggle to hear.

Of course you’re right: there are few judges of the stature of Warren, and few cases of the
 stature of Brown.  
Bad judges lard their orders, and bad lawyers lard their motions, with “legalese” in an 
effort to compensate for a lack of scholarship and prose style.  
But that is not a criticism of the language of the law.  
It is a criticism of the work-product of the judges and lawyers.

Rumpole says: It's now 1-1. Who will cast the deciding vote? 

Tuesday, March 09, 2021


UPDATE # 2 The best words in our job: NOT GUILTY. 


 The trial that has transfixed the nation continues in Miami's REGJB today, with Judge De La O, at the end of jury selection on Monday telling the jury that the trial "will be over tomorrow" and then, in answering a juror's question, wisely responding "there is no time limit" on how long the jury can deliberate. 

Can it get any more exciting than this? 

An inside source tells us that openings are expected around 9:30 am. So brew that second cup of coffee and save that donut and sit back watch some real Mi-am-uh lawyerin this morning. 

We will again be live-tweeting the proceedings @justicebuilding.  Follow us for insightful commentary you will not get anywhere else. 

It's kind of interesting to consider putting a jury on the clock, like the NBA 24 second clock, but with more time depending upon the level of the crime. Say 150 minutes for 3rd degree felonies, 180 for second degree felonies, and so on. There would be a clock in the jury room and one in the courtroom and the participants could all count down to the final seconds. Each side would get a few time outs, with the lawyer standing up and dramatically putting their hands into a T before the judge, who would blow a whistle and order the clerk to stop the clock. 

And if we are going to do all that, then we might as well take away Judges'* robes and put them in stripped shirts. 

Because in ruling against us on Twitter in our epoch battle for the soul of the legal profession,  "Judge M" as he apparently doesn't mind being called, is along with  Mr. Markus's,  the foremost opponent of tradition in our profession. Of course we must admit we greatly admire Judge M's thinking outside of the box and conducting Jury selection in the jury pool room. It shows a clear preference for substance over form and an ability to do something different to protect everyone's health- precisely the type of thinking and judging we need these days to re-open the courts and keep everyone safe. 

 * In reviewing our post, we noticed the missing apostrophe designating possession in our original post. And since Judge Robert Watson has joined blog irregulars as our foremost critic of punctuation, we didn't want to receive a comment chastising and embarrassing us. 

Monday, March 08, 2021


 If it's Monday in the REGIB, then it is time to try a case. Remember when? 

(Don't miss below where Judge De La O rules  against us in our battle against Mr. Markus). 

Well today Judge De La O is finishing voir dire in an armed robbery case where defendant Odell Wadley  has been in custody for two years. Jurors were pre-qualified over zoom last week  and the final panel of 36  is heading -masks on please- to the REGJB to perform their public service in very trying times.  The good news? Parking will be a snap. 

We have had the occasion to email with Judge De La O who has continually assured us that all participants, lawyers, the defendant and courtroom personnel have been made aware that this trial is taking place only because they feel safe and secure to proceed. No lawyer or other participant will be forced to trial in Miami if they have any health concerns, and this has been the policy since the beginning of the pandemic.

The prosecutors are  Casey (Double C) Corey  and Kevin Bentancourt. The defense is Robert Valdes and John  (JOA) Sullivan.  You can watch this extravaganza on the 11th Judicial Circuit's own CourtTV on You Tube.

 Depending on our day, we just might  live tweet the trial @justicebuilding. 

It may not be Ali/Frazier I (see below), but we note that today is the 50th anniversary of the true fight of the century- the only time two undefeated heavyweight champions met for the title. 

Has our new CJ thought about selling spots on the live stream? Along with announcers, we can turn this into something: 

Gene: "Howard, there is a sidebar going on over presumably the prosecution's desire to use a picture of the crime scene in opening before it's been admitted."

Howard: "That's right Gene. It should be an easy call for De La O on this matter. Pictures are often used in opening by both sides.  But while we are on this break, the law firm of Dewey Cheetum and Howe wants you to know that when trials don't go the way you hoped they would, DC&H are available for immediate consultation for appeals and that includes an appellate bond."

Gene: "They're done at side bar Howard. I like the way the defense includes their client in these matters. Making a point before the jury to touch her on the arm and then inform her of what occurred at side bar. As we have said many times, it is oh so important for the defense to humanize their client before the jury."

What say you CJ Sayfie? Have we got an idea here or what? 

Speaking of Judge De La O, he issued a decision on his twitter @delao that was a bitter pill for us: 

. Comes now the Court to rule. You are a great lawyer, Rumpole. You put up a strong fight in a losing battle. O'Marcus is not only right, he made his case succinctly. You were more entertaining, but he wins handily.

Permit us to opine that perhaps his twitter handle should be @delanoideawhatheistalkingabout.....too long? 

It is hard to convey to this Starbucks/millennial generation what Ali/Frazier I was. It was not just a sporting event. It was the greatest event in the greatest city in the world. It was all anyone could talk about for weeks before the fight.  Ali had previously lost his title when it was stripped from him because of his stance on the Vietnam war. Frazier was the champ, and in his own right he was a great great champion, boxer, athlete and man. That night was deservedly Frazier's night when he threw and landed perhaps the best left hook in the history of heavyweight championship fights. How Ali got up and finished the round is indeed a testament to his own greatness. How big was the event? Frank Sinatra was ringside as the photographer. Hollywood star Burt Lancaster was one of the announcers. A young Rumpole was left to scrimp and save twenty dollars to watch it in a movie theater on closed-circuit. 

Watch the whole fight on You Tube when you have 100 minutes. The ebb and flow is breathtaking. Up to the start of the last round it was anybody's fight to win although Joe had staggered Ali on the ropes in the 11th. And then in the 15th  Joe showed why he is, like Ali, a champion for the ages. It is rare you get two men as great as these two at the same era in a sport. Each could not have been what he was without the other.