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.

Monday, August 30, 2021

QUESTIONABLE COVID DECISIONS

 Federal Judges are canceling jury trials. See DOM's blog here.  McDonalds is closing      in- restaurant dinning. Our Starbucks has closed in-store ordering, eating and drinking for over a year. 

You know who is up and running and ignoring Covid like an Oklahoma preacher? Miami-Dade County Court, that's who! Last week they had TWO jury trials. One covered by Ace Herald Reporter David Ovalle involved a serious charge against a police officer. The case fell apart when the main evidence was altered or doctored once in the custody of the State Attorneys Office, the irony being the officer was charged with falsifying official documents. No word on whether that hot mess will be re-tried. The OTHER jury trial in County Court last week was ....wait for it...A RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE!! Not a DUI where the jury came back with a reckless verdict. The actual charge was reckless driving. Jurors were called from the community down to a Justice Building Courthouse which has been glowing red-hot with covid all summer. Court personnel, a Judge, clerks, a court reporter were all brought into a courtroom -and they RISKED THEIR LIVES TO TRY A RECKLESS DRIVING CASE. 

TALK ABOUT BEING RECKLESS! 

Folks, this is madness, pure and simple. 

We have a Delta Variant 100X more virulent than the original disease. We have breakthrough infections of people vaccinated- including several well known REGJB lawyers- and we have people dying. What we should NOT be doing is trying reckless driving cases before juries. Period. End of discussion. 

Speaking of the Delta Variant, The REGJB Fantasy Football league kicked off another exciting season with a draft Sunday. Drafting in the 9th spot- Rumpole's team- The Delta Variant (because we cannot be stopped) nabbed Saquon Barkley, Cooper Kupp and Najee Harris with the first three picks. The second overall rated QB- Josh Allen- was nabbed by us in round four- talk about value- and top-rated TE Tyler Higbee fell right into our lap in round six. And yet...and yet...Yahoo rated our draft a C+. Well ladies and gentleman, they do not decide the title on pre-season rakings. You have to play the game. 

Johnny's Sack- managed by a very experienced FF player was Yahoo's top rated player in our draft. Kudos to getting the top TE Travis Kelce,  but here is a few things JS is going to learn- Dak Prescott is done; never pick a Cincinnati  WR or a Jax RB (he has several), and the problem with Steeler WRs is that they have too many good ones. There will be no breakout star despite JS drafting one of their best- Dionate Johnson. 

Everyone's fav Judge loaded up on WRs- he has eight of them, and some questionable Dolphin players, but then again his team is called De la Fins. 

Good luck to everyone. The race for second place is on. 

THE SURVIVOR POOL IS BEING FILLED. The water is being added; the chairs set-up. Watch this space for the "everybody in the pool" whistle. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

DESANTIS IS RIGHT

 Governor DeSantis is right on covid. And that is not very hard for us to admit. 

A few facts from the NY Times: 

Florida is averaging 21,673 new cases.  DeSantis has been proven right. 

Florida is averaging 51,561 tests a day; down 51% . DeSantis is right.

Florida has 17, 183 people hospitalized, up17% and is averaging 228 people dying every day (over 1500 souls a week), up 87%. DeSantis has been proven right again and again. 

The Times summarizes the data as Florida has more people getting sick, more people hospitalized, and more people dying than at any time during the pandemic. DeSantis has been proven right, right, and right. 

There are two schools of thought aligned along the left-right political spectrum. The "left" believes in science, that masks stop the spread, and that vaccines save lives. The "right" believes in anything that is opposite of the left.  Masks do not work, the government (which requires polio and a myriad of other vaccines) has NO RIGHT to require people to wear masks, and vaccines have been rushed, could sterilize a whole generation of young women, enrich Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci, and do not work. 

DeSantis is the right. So he is, as we say above - "right". And thousands of Floridians are sick, dead and dying because he is right. 

So there. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

DELTA DERAILS CORRECTIONS

 The Delta variant (motto "We love the SAO")  is ripping through the Miami Dade Department of Corrections and Jails as the below stats illustrate:

MDCR reports that 200+ inmates are in isolation and COVID positive.  Isolation lasts about 15 days on average.

MDCR also reports that 1,100 are in quarantine.


MDCR is also asking for a return to the PODS to reduce the daily transport of clients to the courthouse.


Right now they want all corrections cases to be handled first as they need the officers re-deployed back to the facilities. 


They have made video visitation are for 30 minutes a week for clients to communicate with their families.


FANTASY FOOTBALL


The draft is Sunday. You got to be in it to get second place.  Just four spots left and they are going fast. 


Her is the link 


https://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/1052599/invitation?key=fbb343a53afb4cc6&soc_trk=lnk&ikey=236d996ccc2da27e



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A CONSTITUTIONAL CALENDAR

 It's been a while and this one is short and sweet (not many of the otherwise admirable habits of the author of the CC): 

"When a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits -- despotic in his ordinary demeanor -- known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty -- when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity -- to join in the cry of danger to liberty -- to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government and bringing it under suspicion -- to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day -- It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."


          --  Alexander Hamilton, Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration, Aug. 18, 1792


Biden. America. Afghanistan. John Kerry: "How do ask a man (or woman) to be the last man to die for a mistake.

Prepare for this subject and discuss while we prepare the ultimate opinion on the matter. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

FANTASY FOOTBALL

 Covid is racing through our community and our nation as fast as the shrimp disappears at a judicial function buffet. The world is overheating; Greece and California and much of the Pacific Northwest are on fire. 

What to do? 

Join the exclusive and prestigious Justice Building's Fantasy Football League of course. 

Clink on this Link:

or copy and paste:

https://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/1052599/invitation?key=fbb343a53afb4cc6&soc_trk=lnk&ikey=236d996ccc2da27e

There are already two teams including Rumpole's Delta Variant (because we cannot be stopped.  

The race for second place is on! Come join the fun. You have to be in it to win. No quitters allowed (see our prior incendiary post on you know who). 

No need to wear a mask- it's all virtual (unlike Broward County). 

And solely because we are in Florida, there is no vaccine mandate, although vaccines are strongly encouraged. 

For those of you who are long time Justice Building Survivor Pool Players  ( (c) Justice Building Blog 2020, all rights reserved)  be assured your game will be formed shortly. Remember to use the  Pool email and not our own email for your picks, as we have a team of interns monitoring the survivor pool. 

Let's see....what else can we say? 

Join the league!


  


Sunday, August 15, 2021

FEAR

Albert Brooks' underrated movie "Defending Your Life" is based on the premise that the purpose of life is to overcome your fears. 

Fear is the ultimate motivating factor. In Defending Your Life, the more you overcome your fears, the more successful you are in this and subsequent lives (watch the movie and you will see). 

Fear is what is dividing this country on masks and vaccines. It is easy for intelligent and educated individuals to read medical reports and understand that masks and vaccines stop the spread of Covid. For those 20-30%  of Americans who are against vaccines and the mandatory wearing of masks indoors, fear is motivating their anger and  intransigence. They are afraid of Covid. They cannot see Covid. But they can see the societal  manifestation of Covid- masks. So because they cannot strike out against something they cannot see- Covid spreading  respirations of the infected- they strike out against what they can see and hear. Masks are bad (because what they are unconsciously feeling and are really saying is "covid is bad"). Vaccines do not work. Fire Dr. Fauci. These feelings, actions and statements are simply the only way the unwashed ignorant can handle their fears of Covid. They are not the culprits in our current prediction. 

Governor DeSantis and his Republican cohorts are the villains in this battle for the survival of our nation. Make no mistake- DeSantis and his advisors know that masks and vaccines work. But they see a political play here- DeSantis and his advisors can solidify his position as the number one contender against President Biden and secure the Republican base by playing to their fears. And if along the way a few million Americans die because they actually believe the bullshit DeSantis and his team are spreading, well, that is the costs of obtaining power. 

This is what is occurring and it is sickening to watch. 

SPEEDY TRIAL: ASK  NOT FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS....IT TOLLS FOR THEE

Every day we get a few emails asking us to explain the speedy trial tolling provisions because of Covid.  Speedy trial is tolled until Oct.4, 2021 for all defendants whose case began with an arrest  on 3/13/2020 or before. The tolling stops on Jan.3, 2022, for all defendants whose case began with an arrest on  3/14/2020 or any day thereafter.  


ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? THE FAMOUS JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE WILL BE FORMING SHORTLY. WATCH THE BLOG THIS WEEK FOR SIGNUP INSTRUCTIONS. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

BROWARD AND FOOTBALL

 It is that time of year again when the sky turns deep blue, breezes come in from the ocean, hurricanes churn in the Atlantic, Dolphins put on pads, and the earth shaking, news making, water cooler-chatter faking, Covid quaking, Cialis taking, legendary E STREET BAND!  JUSTICE BUILDING FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE forms for a new season of trading, wire watching, and just plain fun. Watch this space for sign-up instructions shortly. 

Broward, that County of Dade Lawyer Hating,  gavel banging,  ridiculous judicial decision making, bond revoking, trial taxing, vindictive sentencing Judges has released their individual practices regarding Zoom. Do not forget to check below for the special "Broward treatment" of lawyers whose offices have a 305 or 718 area code. 



Couple of notes and thoughts. First, Broward judges/lawyers created this list, and of course it is barely readable. Try clicking on it. 

Second, is anyone surprised that the egos that constitute the bench in Broward could not agree on a uniform set of rules? 

There is at least one Miami DV judge smiling smugly to herself that several judges in Broward are insisting on only in person dockets. 

And now for the Miami Lawyers footnote: 

For all Miami Lawyers who wish to appear in Broward, regardless of what it says in the list, the lawyer must appear in person and may NOT wear a mask. Because that is how Broward Judges treat Miami lawyers. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

LET JUSTICE BE DONE

 In 1975 Sam Bronfman. heir to the Bronfman/Seagram liquor fortune was kidnapped.  The two individuals arrested for his kidnapping- NYC Fireman Mel Patrick Lynch and his friend  Dominic Byrne had surveilled Sam Bronfman - who had just graduated from college- over 30 times at the home he shared with his mother who was divorced from Edgar Bronfman, the patriarch of the family. 

The kidnapping, the trial of the kidnappers, and the extraordinary deathbed confession of defendant Lynch's trial counsel- Peter DeBlasio- are detailed in a compelling NY Times story here. 

Peter DeBlasio at the Bronfman trial

To cut to the chase of the matter, despite Sam Bronfman being rescued from Lynch's apartment where he was located bound and gaged with tape- tape that removed part of his skin and in which his facial hair had grown into over nine days of being abducted and gagged- and despite confessions- Lynch was acquitted at a trial that Attorney DeBlasio called "the greatest trial victory"  of his long and storied career.

DeBlasio trial strategy was that his client and Bronfman were gay lovers (a supremely scandalous allegation in 1976) and that Bronfman had engineered his kidnapping to secure funds from his family. To that end DeBlassio put his client Lynch on the witness stand and by all accounts Lynch was an exceptionally compelling witness whose story the prosecution was unable to shake after four days on the witness stand. After the trial, multiple jurors stated that they were certain Bronfman faked his kidnapping. 

Peter DeBlasio passed away at age 91 in December 2020 (only the good die young which is why criminal defense attorneys routinely live into their mid-90's and beyond). In July of 2020 Mr. DeBlassio published his memoirs. In his memoirs he admitted that his defense was made up and that his client did not have a homosexual relationship with Mr. Bronfman and that Mr. Bronfman did not participate in his kidnapping: 

From the NY Times article: 

“About Sam,” Mr. DeBlasio wrote toward the end of his memoir. Noting that Mr. Lynch and Mr. Byrne were both dead, he felt compelled to set the record straight before his own death. “I want it to be clear to all who may ever read these pages that Samuel Bronfman was not a part of the kidnapping.” He added, “Neither he nor Lynch were gay as far as anyone ever knew and certainly they were not lovers.”


So dear readers, here is the question: Did Peter DeBlasio violate the rules of ethics about setting the story straight on his client and the Bronfman case at a time when his client and the co-defendant were dead?  

Are there any cases on you conscience that would engender a deathbed confession? (Rumpole's conscience is 100% entirely clear). 


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

PDS PULL THE PLUG

 Fresh off the heels of becoming the number one blogging villain by virtue of our attack on the world's greatest human being, curer of covid, jumper and tumbler extraordinaire (and quitter) Simone Biles (see yesterday's post for which the World Court is investigating us for Human Rights violations) , the Miami Dade Public Defenders have stuck it to Regional Counsel and the defense bar by TERMINATING their ability to use the PD video conferencing facilities to speak with their clients. 

Gone are the heady days of cooperation when attorneys, PDs, Regional Counsel (counselites?) lawyers, and private attorneys could coast into lot 26, stroll down a few blocks, and hop into the PDs office and confer with their client's via video. Less traffic on the roads. Less carbon emissions and a partial end to global warming; communications at the speed light, less crowding at the jails, better client communications- let's all sing Kumbaya! 

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Guideline deviations for drug addiction; that weird trial prep program Chief Judge Farina installed that lasted all of two weeks; back-up court; that hot dog vendor on the corner that kept a couple of cold ones on ice for jury deliberations that ran late- all gone. And now the PDs have pulled the plug on the use of their plush offices for video conferences with their clients. 

From an email from some PD chief  ( as Judge Moreno used to say when he was in circuit court: "too many chiefs, not enough Indians" - but now of course he would say 'Native Americans' ) : 

Last April, to provide Regional Counsel (RC3) and private defense attorneys (PAs)  [Rumpole notes- if we are  going full acronym, shouldn't it be PDAs? or is that too much like PDs?] the ability to conduct in-custody client video interviews, we implemented a process through which PAs and RC3 could schedule and conduct video interviews of their in-custody clients through the PD’s office and use office video equipment. Although providing this service increased the workload of PD support staff at a time when we had fewer staff, the Public Defender felt it was critically important that incarcerated individuals not represented by our office had a way to be interviewed by their attorneys during the Covid pandemic. Since MDCR is providing the option of conducting video interviews via MDCR’s “PTDC Video Visitation Center” (Visitation Center), and because we are trying to reduce the number of people entering our office to guard against Covid, we are suspending the use of our office for PA and RC3 in-custody video client interviews effective August 16, 2021.

 

MDCR has indicated to us that you can register to use the Visitation Center and schedule appointments through this MDCR website link: https://www8.miamidade.gov/global/service.page?Mduid_service=ser1479236266010643.

 

The hours of operation for the Visitation Center are Monday through Friday, from 8 A.M. until 2 P.M. There is no fee for the use of the Visitation Center.

 

For additional information, contact the Visitation Center at 786-263-4118.

 

Thank you.

 

Richard M. De Maria

Executive Chief Assistant Public Defender for Administration


Oh this is going to be good. Just register with Miami Dade Corrections. What could be easier? 


"Hi, I'd like to schedule a video conference"

"Welcome to Miami Dade Corrections, please listen closely as our menu has recently changed.... if you'd like to hear our address, press 1... (several minutes later) if you'd like to report an inmate being sick, press 87; ... (several minutes later)  if you'd like to report your client being beaten senseless by a corrections officer press 145...  (several minutes later) if you'd like to schedule a video conference please register on the web at www.miamidade.... 

'click' "


Deep breath


"Hi I'd like to schedule a video conference"

"Have you listened to our options at the start of this call?"

"Yes but when it got to the website I was discon...."

"Please hold....'click' "


[Defense attorney gets in car and drives to jail]


"Hi I'd like to schedule a video conference"

"Sure but you have to call to set it up"

"I did but I got disconnected"

"Well, let me give you the number....hang on a moment....(take a phone call) "Pizza? I thought we were doing tacos. No? Ok, how about burgers? Well, I do not want Pizza...hang on there is an emergency on four.....hello? Yeah, what's the problem? Well just lock him in his cell, duh.....hello? Yeah I'm back. How about Chinese? Ok, great, the honey chicken, and two egg rolls. Thanks. Sir- can you have a seat over there? We have shift change and count for the next two hours and when we are done I will gladly assist you."


Yeah, this is going to work out great. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

NO MAS

 On June 20, 1980, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard fought for the welterweight title. In fifteen brutal rounds Duran won a close but  unanimous decision. Prior to the fight Duran  got into Leonard's head, questioning his masculinity (including telling Leonard at the weigh in he was going to screw Leonard's wife after the fight) and causing Leonard to abandon his movement and jab and fight flat footed against perhaps pound for pound the toughest and meanest slugger in boxing. It was Leonard's first loss in the ring. 

The first mistake Duran made was being baited into a quick rematch- November 25, 1980- five months from the first fight. Duran spent most of those months partying and enjoying his victory; Leonard went into purgatory and trained like a monk. The second meeting was much different. Leonard fought his fight, moving and jabbing and frustrating Duran and beating him like he had never been beaten in the ring before.  By round 7 Leonard was taunting Duran, winding up his right hand as if to throw a bolo punch, and snapping Duran's head back with a vicious left jab. In the closing moments of round 8 Roberto Duran, who had the nickname manos-de-piedra (hands of stone) did the unthinkable: he quit.  Duran was a great champion, but his legacy is forever tarnished by quitting in the ring. 

Which brings us to US Gymnast Simone Biles.  Biles also quit, and we find that indefensible. She is being made the poster child for mental health. HA. Our view is, if she was ill, then just  as if she had a bad knee or covid or cancer, she should not have tried out for the Olympic team and taken the spot of a young woman who was fully able to complete. Rather than be celebrated for her quitting  (and some how her quitting is being equated with respect for mental health; it is not. She quit and it has nothing to do with the fact that mental health are serious issues needing serious treatment), she should be shunned. A winner never quits and a quitter never wins. By taking a spot on the team when she knew she was having mental health issues Biles was just being selfish. 

The excuse Biles gave was about the pressure and expectations of winning a gold medal. Pressure? YOU ARE AN ATHLETE COMPETING FOR A GOLD MEDAL. OF COURSE THERE IS GOING TO BE PRESSURE. The essence of competition is pressure. Biles is not some 12 year old school girl being pushed into competing by over-bearing parents. Biles is an adult, she is a professional (no emails about gymnasts being amateurs, there are no professional gymnast leagues; she is well paid for her endeavors)  and responsible for her decisions. You do not want pressure? Then go work for Starbucks as a barista for fifteen bucks an hour plus benefits instead of turning your success into millions of dollars of endorsement payments. 

"Hi I'm Simone Biles, and when the pressure is on, Firestone tires blowup, because these tires, like me, just cannot stand the pressure."

Gee, how would she feel if she got Covid and the doctor responsible for intubating her quit in the middle of what can be a difficult procedure because of the pressure? 

"Sorry Judge, I know closings are set for today in this capital murder case, but the pressure is getting to me. So how about we all take a few days as a breather and see how I feel on Thursday?"

Part of being a professional is dealing with pressure. It is what distinguishes the good from the great. 

We are sympathetic for Ms. Biles and her illness. We have no sympathy for quitters and she should not be celebrated for quitting (and spare us  the indignant emails about the dangers of jumping around on a padded floor. Boo hoo hoo). 


Here is the video of round 7 when Leonard humiliated Duran and then the moment in round 8 when Duran quits. For those of you under 40, the person announcing the fight was the great Howard Cosell.

Monday, August 09, 2021

COVID UPDATE & JUDGE WILLIAMS SLAPS DE SANTIS

DELTA VARIANT MAY BE PEAKING IN US  SOON: SEE BELOW.  

According to the John Hopkins Covid website, Florida reported 134, 500 new cases from July 30- August 6. Our cases are up 51% in the last week. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of Medicine at George Washington school of medicine stated that there were only two places on the planet hotter than Florida for covid cases- Louisiana and Botswana.  (Gov De Santis immediately disagreed with the statistics labeling them "false news."  "We definitely have more cases than Louisiana. Everyone knows Florida will never accept second place to Louisiana." )

Dr. Reiner also stated that if Florida were a country the US should consider banning travel from Florida.  CAUTION: DR. REINER IS AN EXPERT WHO HAS TRAINED DECADES IN SCIENCE AND MEDICINE TO PERFORM HIM WORK. HIS OPINIONS SHOULD BE TREATED WITH CAUTION!

We are number one with a bullet!

Our own Judge Kathleen Williams granted an injunction on Sunday allowing Norwegian Cruise Lines to require vaccinations of all passengers.  Florida, under Governor De Santis, passed a law allowing the State to fine Norwegian $5,000.00 per passenger the cruise line required to show proof of vaccination. 

Of all the reasons Judge Williams could have ruled against Florida, she chose:

[a] The First Amendment;

[b] The Fourth Amendment; 

[c] The Tenth Amendment;

[d] Common sense and the legal doctrine of "just because". 

We would NOT have gotten the correct answer. The opinion is below and if you are a judge and have a policy against reading case law, we will post the answer in the comments section. 

Thwarted in his campaign against vaccine passports, we have inside information of our Governor's next move: requiring restaurants to seat healthy customers with covid-sick diners :"We will not allow liberals to discriminate against sick people. If they want to go out to eat, they have to eat with sick people. Period." 

CIVIL LAWYERS: Howz it going not having a courthouse? Anyone desperate for a civil jury trial?

There is a serious side to this: some people are gravely injured and need a resolution to their case. With no civil courthouse, insurance companies have more ability to play the delay game. There are also people being sued in frivolous cases who need closure and not having  ridiculous cases hanging over them.  The Delta variant has given everyone a little space for a re-set. But FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb sees hope on the horizon: our British cousins. the UK saw Delta being to rise in May and it peaked on July 18 with 47,700 new cases. Since then new infections are falling, with 29, 173 being reported on Sunday. With that template/timeline,  US cases could peak by the end of August. Wouldn't that be nice? 

JUDGE WILLIAMS' DECISION 

Prelim Injunction by HR on Scribd

Friday, August 06, 2021

WHY THE DEATH OF H. SCOTT APLEY MATTERS A LOT AND THE LAMBDA VARIANT

 On August 5, 2021, H. Scott Apley, 45, a recent father  of a newborn child, died of Covid 19. Apley was a city counsel member for a small city in Galveston County, Texas. Days before getting sick, Apley posted on Facebook that the Pfizer vaccine "was the enemy of the people" and he posted about his support for "mask burning parties." 

Apley's death is a tragedy, like all preventable covid19 deaths are. Preventable, because a vaccine a few months ago would have likely saved Apley's life and allowed him to raise his child. Instead, Apley bought into the right-wing-Q-Anon-Don't-Tread-On-Me conspiracy theories. It feels good to ignore science and take a stand against all the smug, government scientists. In a time when we need more of them, the profession of "government-scientist" is probably and perversely viewed with great suspicion by more than 50% of the American public; worse than used car salesmen, or lawyers. The term "government-scientist" for the right, religious right, and nutso-right, conjures visions of Hilary Clinton-pizza eating-pedophile loving bureaucrats plotting to control Americans by injecting their bodies with foreign substances, rather than public health servants who have trained their whole life for this emergency. 

The H. Scott Apleys of the world feed the Fox-News-my body-my choice- anti-vaccine-masks-don't-work- propaganda. Trump and De Santis insinuate that it is a perfectly acceptable decision to not be vaccinated. They have turned a health decision into a political decision. But make no mistake, they are both vaccinated. They are using a crisis for political gain, pure and simple, regardless of how many H. Scott Apley's die in the process. Quick- two people are in the room- one is wearing an Obama Button and one is wearing a Trump button, if your life depended on picking the person not vaccinated, whom would you choose?

The problem is that this is and is not about individual rights. The right, as always, misunderstands the concepts of rights.  The government has the right to regulate the health of citizens. It can and does outlaw smoking on elevators, airplanes, and indoor work places to protect the rights and health  of non-smokers. The government can and does require school children be vaccinated for polio and other childhood diseases to protect other children.    

 It is against the law to use violence against Rumpole for no reason. You cannot stab, shoot, bomb, immolate, poison, or otherwise harm us unless it is in self defense. Individual rights protect the safety of the individual from others. 

If H. Scott Apley wanted to risk his life so that his child would be raised without a father, he had every right to do so without harming us. If every morning he desired to go to his garage and play Russian Roulette with a firearm with one bullet in it, it was his right to do so. But when he endangers the rest of us, which he did by not being vaccinated and encouraging others not to be vaccinated and wear masks,  his rights end. He was not allowed to randomly shoot bullets down the street, he was not allowed to smoke on airplanes, and he should not have been allowed to remain unvaccinated because had he survived with a mild case of Covid, he could have carried a new and deadlier strain of covid that could have killed others. 

Which brings us to the Lambda variant. Two mutations in the Lambda variant- T761 and L452Q are now more infectious than the covid virus that swept through the world in 2020. Lambda is, according to the World Health Organization, now in 29 countries. It accounts for 81% of the infections in Peru. 

And now, for your consideration over a nice and restful weekend- consider this: Research by a team from the University of Tokyo this week (which has NOT been peer reviewed yet) have found three mutations in the Lambda spike protein that helps it resist protection provided by vaccine induced antibodies. Chew on that. 

"Lambda can be a potential threat to human society" said senior researcher Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo to the Reuters news organization. 

Sleep well on that one dear readers. 

JUVIE DIALS IT BACK PLUS OPTICS

 The Juvenile division, in the exceptionally capable hands of Judge Orlando Prescott, has gone back to remote hearings, Judge Prescott knowing what our Governor does not: Covid/Delta is killing children:

The previous in-person hearings will be conducted remotely:

  • Juvenile Delinquency Detentions and Soundings
  • Juvenile Delinquency Quash Pick
  • Juvenile Dependency Shelter Hearings
  • Juvenile Marchman Hearings
  • Weekend Juvenile Detention and Dependency Hearing

Juvenile Detention and Dependency Hearings via Zoom (Monday-Friday)

Meeting ID: 938 0652 9690

No password required


Weekend Juvenile Detention and Dependency Hearings via Zoom (Saturday, Sunday, and Court Holidays)

Meeting ID: 996 0478 5521

No password required



OPTICS is the term we use to describe how something looks. Currently we have a petulant judge in the domestic violence division, who in the face of the Delta variant, has spent the last two weeks railing against Zoom hearings when she is not bemoaning the fact that she has a child care issue and cannot start at 9am. Both of her honor's rantings are examples of bad optics and show an incredibly deaf ear to the delta variant and that most of the litigants not to mention many of the lawyers who some how manage to appear in front of her on time also have child care issues that they have managed to resolve. But this judge is so self absorbed in her own suffering- not unlike POTUS45, that she cannot understand the criticism leveled at her by this blog. Don't we know she has child care responsibilities? Yeah, we know. And we do not care.

Add to the bad optics the unfortunate Assistant Public Defender who took to email to promote an upcoming CLE seminar on jury selection when he wrote this (we are not making this up):

As we return to more jury trials, it seems like a good time to brush up on our jury selection skills.

Um, do you read your own emails? 144 assistant state attorneys a day are coming down with Covid requiring you to forward 144 emails from the SAO announcing yet another state attorney employee who has (shockingly) fallen ill with Covid. 
Just who will be on the other side picking those juries since the entire state attorney's office is sick with Covid? 
And where will we be picking these juries, with courtrooms closed? 
And who will be on our panel, with Covid/Delta scaring people into staying home?
Would you risk Covid/Delta by coming to jury duty to sit on a resisting arrest with violence case because the state is offering 55 years? 

Bad optics. 

And finally, and this is just a rumor, but there erupted a contretemps of Rumpolian proportions earlier in the week when a head County Court Judge wandered into a courtroom, saw some assistant PDs in the courtroom- they were there because some clients had gotten in person court notices, and chewed them out good, resulting in emails up and down the PD chain of command eventually telling the judge if s/he wanted to close the courtroom and ban to the PDs to write an order and they would take her/him up. 
Optics. Bad Optics. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

COVID ZOOM UPDATE

 From: The Miami Dade State Attorneys Office Human Resources and Covid Cop

To: The Miami Legal Community

Covid Update:

We have one employee who is not covid positive (yet, but give us time). That employee remains huddled in her office surrounded by vats of bleach, ultraviolet light, and sixteen N95 masks. The rest of the state attorney's office employees are positive and have visited every courtroom in South Florida, every bathroom of every building and every room in every courthouse  EXCEPT for the janitor's closet on nine in the REGJB. We recommend all court hearings be held in the closet until further notice. Thank you. 

Rather than continually clog up our email inbox, wouldn't the above email make more sense considering that the SAO is issuing a dozen or so updates a day. We get it- the entire non-mask wearing office is infected. 

Meanwhile, Judge Wolfson is taking the Delta variant seriously which means two things: first she is smart and understands  the science and is committed to protecting staff, lawyers, clients and the public. And second, because of point one, she will never ever ever get any appointment to any higher court by this or any Republican governor for the rest of her career for being smart and following the science and protecting people over her career. Shame on her. 

From Judge Wolfson: 

This afternoon we had our weekly meeting of the Criminal Jury Trial Task Force. Based on the dire information that was provided by representatives from the State Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office, I have decided to execute the attached amendment to the Administrative Memorandum regarding Hybrid Court Operations. It states as follows:

 

Effective immediately, ALL ATTORNEYS may choose to appear either in person or on Zoom. Each operating courtroom will continue to be staffed with an in person Assistant Public Defender, in addition to the judge, court clerk, bailiff, probation officer (optional) and correctional officer(s). Inmates will be brought to court only for hearings, trials, and very few pleas only with the judge’s express approval. As stated previously, if an inmate was not transported but wishes to accept a plea that will result in them getting out of custody, Corrections will bring them on Zoom on a staggered basis. If there is a surplus of inmate Zoom hearings on any one particular day, Judges Wolfson, de la O, and Tinkler Mendez will make themselves available to handle them. Interpreters will be appearing via Zoom unless needed for an in-person hearing, trial, or the types of pleas referenced above. As of this date, all other normal court operations will remain unchanged.

 

In addition, for the judges – in the previous Administrative Memo where it advises people to mute their devices during Zoom proceedings, this does NOT apply to judges. You should have yourself on video and unmuted during your daily calendars, unless you go off the record for some reason.

 

Lastly, thank you all so much for your flexibility during this extremely difficult and challenging time. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.

 

Best regards,

 

Andrea Ricker Wolfson,


Monday, August 02, 2021

WE'RE BACK

 Florida is back baby! Yup, once again numero uno in the nation in new covid cases.  So let's go over the numbers as per the CDC: 

21,683 new cases Friday. WE"RE #1! (previous high was 19,334 on January 7). 

Average of 15,818 new cases a day last week. WE'RE #1!

409 covid deaths last week. WE'RE #1!

70,000 new cases a day in the US last week, and Florida, one state out of fifty is responsible for more than 20% or those. 

COME TO FLORIDA =SEE IT AS A NATIVE!


When the CDC recently recommended that all children returning to the school in the fall wear masks, Governor De No Science Santis IMMEDIATELY signed an executive order preventing school districts requiring school children to wear masks. Because if Covid is killing (which it is again) and the pandemic is raging (ditto) then science sucks in Florida! 

"No scientist is going to tell me what to put in mah arm and that makh kid should wear no damn mask to school" is what Mr. and Mrs. Yahoo in Two Egg Florida say to each other as they pull into the Piggly Wiggly to buy chips and beer for breakfast. "What do they all knows anyhow?"

Well, true, the immunological experts  did not stop at a HS equivalency degree. And true, they don't work three gig jobs and load boxes for Amazon. Just ten years of schooling and ten years of post grad work in virology, but why should anyone listen to someone who has spent a life time studying a subject?

We first identified this phenomenon when POTUS 45 was President-elect. He was at a rally somewhere in the middle of the country and he had just decided to nominate James Mattis as his secretary of defense, mostly because he liked the nickname "Mad-Dog." Now, outside of Rumpole and the military establishment, no one really knew that James Mattis was an aesthetic monk-warrior, who spent his life time committed to the military and lived a simple lifestyle surrounded by books. 

Yet when POTUS 45 announced to the crowd he was picking "Mad-Dog Mattis" as the new secretary of defense, they paused for a moment, because not one damn one of them knew who he was, but then someone started yelling and clapping and then more and more and soon the crowd was screaming  in ecstasy over someone they had never heard of, but because the President Elect thought he would shake things up, they were going to scream in joy.  Because people are reveling in their ignorance and they want to be led. Angry at only being smart enough to obtain a minimum wage job, they are some how forming a belief that intellectuals caused their problems. So, when an ignorant anti-intellectual becomes their leader, they buy into the anti-expert tirades. 

There is a certain unexplainable joy dumb people have in being told to disbelieve their eyes and that the experts do not know anything. 

Covid spreads almost entirely through respiration. SO DO NOT WEAR MASKS!

A covid vaccine is 95% effective in stopping infections, and almost 100% effective in stopping serious side-effects from infections. SO DO NOT GET THE VACCINE (cue the unwashed masses in Florida cheering for their governor.)

Now here is the thing about No Science De Santis and we told you first- he is 100% running for president regardless of what POTUS 45 does. And he has POTUS 45's playbook. If an expert says to do this, he says do not do it! If common sense tells you to wear a mask, do not do it. You are an American. You have a god-given right to not listen to experts. 

When your appendix bursts- go to the gas station not the ER. Who says a surgeon is best qualified to remove a burst appendix? Only experts and we know not to believe them.

When you get in an airplane, ask a passenger to fly it NOT the pilot.  Who says a pilot can fly a plane better than anyone. They crash all the time, right? 

Why should teachers teach from history books? The South did NOT lose the civil war. Fake news. 

And on and on and on, with appeals to conspiracy theories like 5G causes cancer and covid, and that the people who attacked the capitol on January 6 "were regular tourists" (this was actually said by a Republican Congressman in Congress last week). 

So. Do Not Wear a Mask. DO NOT get vaccinated. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars, but come to Florida, the land of ignorance. Get Covid (just a small cold) and go to a freaking 7-11 when you get sick and ask the counter person to treat you. 

Then drop dead.  Good riddance.