Thursday, May 19, 2022


 As reported by NBC6 Miami, JAC has ordered one court appointed attorney to repay 282 thousand dollars in court appointed fees that could not be accounted for. The commission held a hearing. There was significant incredulity about the billing of more than 24 hours of work in a day more than 44 (That's Reggie Jackson's number with the Yanks BTW) times. 

Rumpole says....Practice Panther. Track your hours. Save your Bar license. Keep your fees. Very affordable. 

This makes all of us look bad. 


Meanwhile, the City of Miami Beach continues to prosecute people for taking pictures and videos of police officers...except when the case is set for trial. Then they run faster than a judge from a bar tab. 

Ace Herald Scribe has all the details of the latest act of cowardice of CMB here  and their prosecutor Yoe Lopez dismissing a case a year after arrest as it came to court for trial. Lawyer Dan Tibbitt, who doesn't take sh$t from any prosecutor or judge, and has won some very big cases, was ready for battle and took the win. 

Yo Yoe!  Your reputation is worth more than whatever Miami Beach is paying you to wreck the lives of people taking pictures. Are you going to arrest Ovalle if he takes a picture of a cop making an arrest? Or if he takes a picture of you getting your case whipped in court?

Yoe taking a loss and beating a fast retreat 


Wednesday, May 18, 2022



Now there is a move afoot by those who wear black and sit above the rest of us to end zoom court. 

Why? Because it's easier for clients and attorneys and that rubs those who wear black robes the wrong way. 

Judges are grumbling (ever wonder what they teach at those "judicial colleges"? "Grumbling" is a course) that lawyers aren't showing up on time, clients aren't showing up at all, and there is a general lack of respect. 

A couple of Rumpole thoughts.

Has the administration of justice stopped? Have trials stopped occurring? Have pleas stopped? 

We think not. 

The only thing that has happened is that lawyers can sit in their offices or palatial homes and Zoom from court to court and not have the 45 minute commute to court, and the 45 minute commute back. The environment is better for this- less carbon emissions. Clients are better off- they don't lose time off from work and that makes Judges nuts- not being able to inconvenience people and impose their importance on people's lives. If they are not the most important part of a person's day, then their existence, in their own minds, is diminished. 

Maybe that is too harsh, but then again, consider the source- Rumpole, 

If there is reason under those robes, then do not end Zoom Court. 

If you read the news and see that Covid/ Omicron is ripping through this country at an alarming rate, then don't end Zoom Court. 

But if your day is centered around supplicants coming before you, laughing at bad jokes, and bowing deeply when asking for a re-set of a case, then end Zoom Court. 

There should be a vote on this by the Judges. And the vote should be made public. 

Because the public votes as well, and if you proudly want to end Zoom Court then put a line through a Z and wear it as a badge.  Stand up and be counted. 


 This is what this blog means to be.  What Ted Mastos wrote. It deserves its own post. We would invite him and others to write more about the Mosler trial. And we call upon CJ Sayfie to start an REGJB Hall Of Fame. It can start with a list of names on a board, prominently displayed, and then we can go from there. 

 Theodore Mastos said...

It would be hard to be any more eloquent than the folks who have already spoken. He was truly one of the remaining Gerstein gang members who witnessed Richard Gerstein and Gerald Kogan in the Mosler trial. He was a lawyer's lawyer in every sense of the word. Jack could always be found in the cafeteria with a cup of coffee and stories from the past with eager young lawyers gathering around just to hear some of the stories. As I have often stated, it is a shame that REG is such a cold and austere building with no sense of the history that has unfolded over the years. Jack belongs in the Hall of Fame of REG greats who have walked those corridors. Jack should not be forgotten. I will miss him.

Monday, May 16, 2022


UPDATE: From the Blumenfeld family:

On Sunday, May 15, 2022, Jack R. Blumenfeld, loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, passed away at age 79 surrounded by his loved ones.

His funeral will take place on Wednesday, May 18 at 9:30am at Temple Judea, 
5500 Granada Blvd, Coral Gables, FL. The service will be live streamed here
 for those who can't make it: https://bit.ly/3lnfi1L 
We ask that you give the family time to grieve during this difficult time. 
We will be monitoring Jack's Facebook messages if you have any questions. 

All of these are tough. Some are harder than others. This one is very hard. 

Jack Blumenfeld, one of the old guard criminal defense attorneys who cut his teeth in the 1970s and was there for all of the drug wars that followed, passed away this weekend. 

Jack was old school, and that is a badge of honor. He is from a time when lawyers huddled in the hallways, made deals and shook hands and his word was his bond. If the case needed a little extra work, then a drink in a bar was a good way to settle it. And if the case could not be settled, then he tried the case and he was great at it, 

There is so much that pains us about the loss of Jack. Part of the loss is that he was a storehouse of knowledge of lawyers and cases most of you have never heard of. But it is under the shade of those trees - the acorns that Jack and his contemporaries planted- that most of you practice law. 

Jack was a treasure. As a person and as a lawyer. We are broken hearted by hearing this news. A few weeks ago we spoke with him. He was loving retirement, teaching law to highschoolers. He told us if he knew how much he would enjoy retirement he would have done it years ago. It was someone like Jack who inspired us to go to law school many years ago, and we can see why he would thrive around young people who thirsted for his knowledge and reveled in his war stories- of which there were many. 

Jack was a great lawyer. He was a great family man- which was the most important thing to him. And he was a great friend. We shall not see his like again. 

Rest in Peace old friend. 

When Gerald Kogan passed away, Jack saw fit to email this to Rumpole: 

Rumpole, I’m sure that you will get many comments regarding the devastating loss of 

Jerry Kogan. Most will come from young and not so young lawyers who practiced before 

him on the Circuit Court and/or the Supreme Court. But, there are a few of us older

 (guess ancients would be more accurate) who go back to the 60s and 70s with him. 

I met him as a young ASA and tried many cases against him, especially as a Major Crimes 

prosecutor handling murder cases. Unfailingly, he was brilliant. His closings made you 

wonder if you would have voted NG if you were a juror, even when you knew the 

defendant was guilty. But, he was also unfailingly a true and consummate professional. 

He NEVER made it personal. He treated every lawyer-even 

adversaries- with respect. That didn’t change when he took the bench either, as many can

 attest. When I decided to leave the SAO, he invited me to practice with him and a year 

later made me his first law partner; a junior partner for sure, though he never treated

 me as anything but an equal. What an experience!! We got a young law clerk from 

UM Law, who seemed to have some promise. His name: Alan Ross. 

Can you imagine a better place to practice in those days?

More importantly, I knew him as a human and it was as a human that he excelled. 

He was one of the most decent, honest and respectful person I have ever met.

 Yes, he was a great lawyer and jurist, but, he should also be remembered as a great husband, 

father, brother and friend. He just did life the right way.

Gerald Kogan made you proud you were a lawyer; especially proud to be a criminal defense 

lawyer. And he made me thank G d for allowing me to know and associate with him. 

Frankly, if we have displayed pictures of some of our colleagues who have left us, 

we should dedicate the entire 4th floor in his name!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2022


 The FACDL had its awards dinner last night. Some people won awards. Lots of alcohol was consumed, making the speeches more bearable, and judges who would otherwise never give you the time of day were present, smiling and laughing and being unusually friendly because they are up for election in two years and they want your support. 

Rumpole, as usual, was persona non grata

Frank Quintero won the Against All Odds Award. 

Elliot Scherker won the Founders Award. 

Judge Raag Singhal, won the Judge award, called affectionately the Koogie after the late, great Judge Gerald Kogan. 

And D. Ryan McCartney won the young lawyers award. Gotta love someone who has an initial for a first name. 

Other highlights. 

Valet parking was almost $33.00! 

FACDL provided "complimentary flip-flops" and no, that was not a judge standing around saying "Granted...wait...I uhhh mean denied."  It was some pair of foot coverings. Must be an inside joke we are on the outside of. 

Now hang on to your hats, but those of you like us, who missed this event, missed....virtual bowling. Yes, virtual bowling. Here's a beer. Here's a pretend ball, pretend to roll it, pretend to have fun. As long as the beer wasn't pretend...

There was pool somewhere, but as best we can tell, no one fell in. 

From the actual, real official guide, there was forty minutes of "non-programmed" time where the guide actually suggested that the participant "get more drinks."

"Hey Martha, are we going to that FACDL thing this year?"

"Nah, it's too programed."

"Wait! I'm looking at the guide. This year they have forty minutes of non-programmed time!"

"Really? Then let's go. I hope they have virtual bowling as well."

We are hopeful a good time was had by all. Just not us. 

Friday, May 13, 2022


 As a Rose by any other name (would deny a bond just as sweet?) struggles with the demand of a full case load and lots of invitations to Judicial Election functions (see the PoliticalCodadito blog) we want to state a few things. 

In response to our blog post about her name change. Ms. Tylman-Tua -Cervera told PoliticalCodadito that our post was "a lie. It's twisted. Deliberately distorted." As to "twisted" we will have a more detailed response below- we're not gonna take it anymore, that's for sure. 

As to a lie, we reported she had her DL and voter registration card in the name Tylman and that her bar profile was under Tylman. If that is a lie, let us know and we will print a full retraction. It did come out in the interview that she has her passport under the name Cevera. If so, it is an important fact that should be out there for the voters' consideration. Of course, the lawyer in us would remind Ms. TC that at many the pretrial detention hearing in federal court, the prosecutors delight in telling the court that our client has a passport in a different name. Just saying, it could backfire when you need it most. 

It also came out that TC changed her name when her son saw her Zoom name as different than Cevera. Personally, we would advise to leave children out of this contretemps. 

And finally this- TC said "she has always dreamed of being a judge.

Stop the presses Mr. Ovalle. Front page herald: Judicial candidate stuns world, revealing she always dreamed of being a judge. 

"The Miami legal community reacted in shock and amazement when a judicial candidate revealed she always dreamed of being a judge. 'It's a game changer' said one political consultant. 'We've never seen a candidate say that before.' Speaking with a Judge who asked to remain anonymous, the Judge said 'We all want to be judges. But having always dreamed of being a judge? Wow! That is something special. I hope she wins.' "

So lets play this forward at an imaginary candidate forum, assuming Ms. TC could clear her crowded schedule of cases and other judicial receptions and actually attend one. 

When asked why she is running for judge, Judge Lody gives a response about how rewarding the job is in serving Miami and how it is a continuation of her work as a prosecutor. There is polite and genuine applause. 

Then Ms. TC rises and states "Well, I've always dreamed of being a judge." A moment of shock, followed by a raucous standing ovation and loud cheers. 

A Rose by any other name- is a Dream Candidate For Judge. 

And now, rocking all the way from 1984. We are Twisted? Well, Ms. Dream Candidate- let us say....WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022


 Last we ventured way north of the border, to the Palm Beaches where lawyers clad in blue double breasted blazers with their club insignia and tan slacks and white buck shoes sip Gin and Tonics at 5pm and bemoan the lack of civility and the downturn in the market, one Judge Johnny Kastrenakes, he formerly of the Dade County State Attorney's Office (Janet Reno era) and US Attorneys Office (Dexter Lehtinen era?) had engendered not one but two challengers in what was going to be his last election. 

Reading the writing on the genteel Palm Beaches walls and political scene, the Judge gracefully withdrew, citing family time and teaching commitments. Discretion in blue-blood Palm Beach always being the better part of valor, as well as continued entry into the clubs whose names you are not even allowed to speak in public, it being declassee. 

This information was widely reported on other blogs before ours, pressing legal issues having prevented us from hoping on this story as it broke earlier this week. 

Two challengers entering a judicial race in WPB is a very unlikely scenario. It is hard to remember a time when that occurred before. The reasons behind the challenge are a bit unclear, but it may relate to a story where the judge held a recalcitrant juror in contempt and sentenced him to jail, later modifying the sentence when the juror apologized. Apparently the issued galvanized the West Palm Beach elite, where such things "are just not done here."

  A little of the 305 goes a long way in the 561, and sometimes a little too far. You can take the boy out of Miami, but not the Miami out of the boy. Or words to that effect. 

Judge Kastrenakes has had a long and distinguished public service career, trying and wining some of the biggest cases in South Florida before donning black robes. He was a worthy adversary when he prowled the halls of the REGJB, and we wish him well. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


Lost in all the hubbub and contretemps over A Rose By Any Other Name, is that the Florida Supreme Court DENIED the Florida Bar's emergency motion to suspend Bruce Jacobs. But the fight goes on and we wish Mr. Jacobs well (maybe cut back a bit on the size of those appendices to start. Everyone knows Judges do not like to read).

We recently traveled and approximately 30-40% of people on planes were wearing masks. Dumb. Dumber. Dumbest. Dead. Declinate the D's of not wearing masks.  

Vicki White, the corrections officer who helped an inmate escape has died of a self inflicted gunshot wound after being captured. We were sort of rooting for her. 

F1? F-Off. Not for us. But rumor is that Dolphin Owner Stephen Ross made more on this past weekend's F1 race then he will for the whole 2022 NFL season. 

Raul Julia's portrayal of the defense attorney in Presumed Innocent is just remarkable. We had occasion to watch it again over the weekend, and it is too often neglected. The line about having more than enough  unsubstantiated allegations for one case is just classic. Julia died way too young at age 56 or so. 

Monday, May 09, 2022


 We have been called many things. Accused of bias, stupidity, and perhaps worst of all- boring writing. And that's just from our mother. 

Others in the legal community have said worse. 

And then there was this in the DBR, who did a story on the Captain's Name Game post, which hit our legal community like the bomb it was: 

But in response, Cervera called the blog post “an attack on professional women who engage in the act of assuming their husbands’ surnames.”

“It is disappointing that issues like this one are raised to distract residents from being able to learn more about me and the reasons why I am running for judge,” Cervera said in an email. “It saddens me that with all the progress women have made, we still remain susceptible to attacks about what last name we decide to use.”

 An attack? You betcha. On professional women? Surely you jest. You can do better than that Ms. Tylman-Tua-Sanchez-Wong whateverwillwork.com.

You have been married how long? Several years at least? And you were too busy to fill out the paperwork to change your name, what with the cleaning and the shopping, and such as a busy housewife? 

You have been caught Madam. Exposed for what you are- a win-at-all-costs-character who will do what it takes to play the name game in Miami Judicial elections. Period. 

The John Kennedy School of Government awards Profile in Courage Awards to public servants who have made decisions putting the welfare of the public above their own personal needs. Elected officials who voted their conscience, and then lost the next election as a consequence of their vote.  

You Madam, will never know the accomplishment of standing for something bigger than yourself. Perhaps, it is this sort of thinking that led you to change your name in advance of an election, rather than seek to tout your experiences. 

So once again, we offer you the pages of this blog. Unedited. Speak your piece. Rise in your defense. Tell all of us why you deserve to be elected. How your experiences and abilities make you uniquely qualified to sit in judgment of others. And if you wish, address your name change- and how at this particular moment in your life- you needed to take your husband's name like the good wife you are. 

Should you doubt our sincerity, email us and we will send you the private emails of respected judges and attorneys who will vouch for our sincerity and, if it makes you feel better, in to their hands we will place the blog and the ability to publish a post, so you feel secure. 

The floor is yours. 

Do you have the courage to accept? 

Oh, one last thing. Check out the post of the Captain on August 9, 2010, in which he reports on the name change of one Peter Adrian, who, like you, desperate to win a judicial race, reached into his long lost past and found the sur name "Camacho". Adrian went on to win one term, before being roundly and deservedly beaten, earning the reputation of one of the worst judges to disgrace the bench of Miami-Dade County. 

An attack on women? How dare you. 

An attack on liars and lack of character is more like it. 

Saturday, May 07, 2022


Bruce Jacobs update below 

When Rumpole rises in defense, he bows slightly to that sepulchral-like figure, clad in black, looming meters above the rest of us, and mutters "may it please the court" before launching into a spirited defense of the accused. 

We need not acknowledge one of our two opponents in the courtroom, but we do so out of respect for what they represent. Our democracy. Our judicial system. Overseer of due process, comity and cafecito at 3. 

But what if we did not? What if those around us simply said "no" we chose not to follow your decisions? 

We started this conversation on Mr. Markus's blog with a comment about a scenario: Imagine if two of the so-called conservative justices were forced to retire unexpectedly this term. Perhaps Justice Thomas retires, and Justice Kavanaugh is offered the presidency of a beer distributorship in Baden, Germany. Now also consider a democratic rout of republicans in the senate midterm elections, resulting in Biden appointing two new justices. And now imagine the newly constituted "Biden Court" reversing the reversal of Roe. 

What will our Supreme Court have become, if nothing more than another congress, ruling according to which side is currently in the majority. 

The Judiciary's power flows from the public's respect for the institution. They have neither the power of the purse nor the military. If the public loses trust, then what? 

Now imagine this scenario: A President Trump or suitable clone, reacts to a Supreme Court decision by telling his or her followers to not follow it. They order federal law enforcement to not enforce the decision. Their supporters in congress beat back yet another impeachment proceeding. 

We are on the precipice of very dark times dear readers. 

Yes, there are moments in history when back-benchers like Churchill defied his party and parliament and thundered about the rising Nazi threat. Proven right, his country turned to him, bringing him from the wilderness, and into power. 

Lincoln, suspending the sacred rights of habeas corpus and freedom of the press; violating the Constitution to save the Union. 

But those moments are and should be rare. And yet they fuel the rising populist movement to defy the law, to defy science, and to defy common sense, because a Trump or DeSantis says they should. 

The threat to this Union, this great experiment in democracy, is real and imminent. They will defy judges if told to do so. They will attack law enforcement if egged on. They will arrest and incarcerate intellectuals and scientists and the Rumpoles of this world, and we shall descend into the dark ages of mob rule, pandemic illnesses, drought, heat, famine and flood. Force will replace reason. Prayer will replace medicine and science. Elections will be rigged and tampered with. Democracy will die, and many millions along with it. 

Other than that, enjoy your weekend. 

Update: the Florida Supreme Court disapproved without prejudice the Florida Bar's petition for an emergency suspension of Bruce Jacobs. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022


The Right To Privacy Update below: 

As reported in the Media starting Monday night, the Supreme Court (Motto: precedent matters, except when it doesn't) has decided to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the leaked draft opinion by Justice Alito, there is the phrase "The constitution is silent on abortion."

In another post we will speak about our personal views on abortion. They may surprise you. For now we wish to discuss the judicial reasoning about the Constitution being silent on abortion. By overruling Roe, the States will now have the final say on whether a woman can have an abortion. Women in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and the like must be feeling well protected and secure. 

Here are some of the other things the Constitution is silent on, which means states may outlaw them. 

Dinner. Appendectomies. Dental care. Cars. Aeorplanes, Donuts. Starbucks. Baseball. The NFL Draft. Sirius Satellite Radio and the Morning Men show on MadDog radio. Concerts. Apple iPhones.  Pizza. Voir Dire.  The Sentencing Guidelines. Pineapple on Pizza (we agree in outlawing this). Lox and Bagels.  Crypto (Thank you Eth). Kittens. Zoos. Crayons.  Garden rakes. Meditation. HIIT Peloton classes and our fav teachers Hanna Frankson and Jen Sherman on the bike and Daniel McKenna for strength. Cafe Con Leche and Cuban Toast. Psychotherapy. Disney World. Surfing. Skiing. Boxing. The designated hitter (ditto on no problem outlawing this). Fireworks. Mini-skirts. Cardiac catheterization  when having a heart attack. 

Our point is, if they can deny federal protection and allow a state to outlaw one medical procedure, then every medical procedure is in jeopardy. 

If the yardstick is whatever is not mentioned in the constitution is fair game for a state to outlaw, then all sorts of activities from sports to exercise to foods can be banned. 

If a state decides coffee is dangerous, then the supreme court will not strike down that law. If a state decides football games on Sundays violates the Lord's day of rest, then there goes your Atlanta Falcons/Texans/Colts parlay. And if the state has a Jewish bent, then Saturday is the day of rest and no movie dates. If a state decides sex between people under 30 should be illegal, then so be it because as near as we can tell, the Constitution is silent on sex. 

Every Supreme Court case striking down sodomy laws are also now in jeopardy. Gay Marriage? Move to Canada. 

Someone explain to us why a State that adopts a belief that surgery, medicine, and medical treatments are bad (because the Governor and legislators have done their own research and decided that antibiotics are bad [sound familiar?] or that the polio vaccine is dangerous) cannot outlaw surgery and modern medicine techniques. Back to leeches. Prayer will save you, erythromycin will not, although swigging some bleach could help. 

This country is loudly and proudly returning to the dark ages. 

Update: We neglected to mention that the decision in this case opens the door for the court to reverse the decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, a decision we have roundly criticized for decades.  The decision in Griswold found a right to privacy in the penumbra of the constitution. For those of you who are robed readers, a penumbra is an aura or shadow. It is most often used in astronomy contexts, in discussing the penumbra cast when the moon moves before the sun. A right to privacy is most certainly not mentioned in the Constitution.  Therefore, the decision in Griswold, its holding on privacy and the ability to purchase contraception, should now be considered in doubt. 

Again, for our readers who wear robes at work, the reason why the decision in Griswold concerns us, is, who is reading this penumbra? What standard is at use for ferreting out those rights hiding in the shadows cast by the Constitution? And if the Griswold court could find privacy in the penumbra, could not the Barrett Court find Jesus in the penumbra? Could not the Alito court find a mandate to not work on Sundays in the penumbra? 

Here is the problem: when you praise the decision in Griswold because you like the right to privacy, but ignore how they reached that decision- a personal opinion by a judge that a right was hiding in the shadows of the Constitution, then you open the door for Justice Barrett, Justice Altio and Justice Kavanaugh to find what they want to find in the same shadows. And trust us, they are not finding the right to privacy, the right for homosexuals to marry, and the right to be free from enhanced electronic surveillance in those shadows. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022



FACDL-Miami is hosting a JUDICIAL CANDIDATES TOWN HALL on Tuesday, May 3rd, from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. The event can be seen on Zoom at the following link: Click this link on May 3 to join the forum (Meeting ID: 943 189 3869 Passcode 378486). The event is co-sponsored by several voluntary bar associations).

ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES (on both the United States Supreme Court and on the Florida Supreme Court) .....


Justice Alan Lawson announced his retirement from the Florida Supreme Court on Friday. This gives Gov. DeSantis yet another appointment to our highest court. Lawson has served on the high court since his appointment by Gov. Rick Scott in 2016. He previously served 11 years on the 5th DCA and four years as a circuit court judge in the 9th Circuit. His retirement is effective August 31. 

Since taking office in January of 2019, DeSantis has made six appointments to the Florida Supreme Court. Two, Judge Robert Luck and Judge Barbara Lagoa have since moved on to the federal bench. Three other justices are currently serving on Florida’s highest court including: Justices Carlos Muniz, John Couriel, and Jamie Grosshans.

The current makeup of the court does not include a black justice. You may recall that Gov. DeSantis attempted to solve that issue by placing Judge Renatha Francis on the Court in 2020 (his sixth appointment).  Only problem with that appointment was that Francis was not qualified as she had only been a member of the Bar for nine years. The Florida Supreme Court told DeSantis he needed to pick someone else. (He picked Grosshans).

So, will DeSantis pull a Joe Biden and announce that his next appointment will be black. While we doubt that, we are willing to wager you a bet that his first qualification for all of the candidates will be that they must be a member of The Federalist Society.


We were not able to include the information for candidate Renier Diaz de la Portilla on last week’s County Court races post as he did not file his financial paperwork until Friday.

Here is that information:

Attorney Diaz de la Portilla paid his Qualifying Fee in the amount of $6,255.08.

Attorney Diaz de la Portilla has a Net Worth of NEGATIVE $91,667.

Attorney Diaz de la Portilla stated that his salary is $100,000 annually from his law firm.

Maybe candidate Jason Bloch (who has a Net Worth of more than $72 million dollars) can loan Renier a few bucks.


But related to Miami-Dade County .....

You rarely see Incumbents challenged in judicial races in Palm Beach County

Judge John Kastrenakes, longtime Circuit Court Judge, and former ASA in Miami-Dade County for 13 years (as well as former AUSA for 14 years), got not one but two challengers: Caryn Siperstein and Alcolya St. Juste. Kastrenakes was appointed to the bench is 2009 by Gov. Charlie Crist. He was unopposed in both 2010 and 2016. This is his first contested election.

You may recall that Judge K made the news back in 2019:

Judge Kastrenakes held a man in contempt of court, giving him a 10-day jail sentence and a year on probation after he slept in and missed his jury duty. Following his jail time, Deandre Somerville appeared at a hearing on October 4, 2019, during which Judge Kastrenakes reduced his probation sentence to three months and his community service hours from 150 to 30 after Somerville's lawyer appealed. The judge also removed the contempt from Somerville's record following the hearing.

“I firmly believe that Deandre Somerville is the type of person who can achieve anything he wants in this world. I know he now understands and respects our system of justice and the critical role jurors play in that system. In conclusion, I do not want even a finding of contempt to be gleaned from a perusal of his background or record,” wrote Kastrenakes.


Monday, May 02, 2022



More to follow on this important issue. 




FACDL-Miami is hosting a JUDICIAL CANDIDATES TOWN HALL on Tuesday, May 3rd, from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. The event can be seen on Zoom at the following link: Click this link on May 3 to join the forum (Meeting ID: 943 189 3869 Passcode 378486). The event is co-sponsored by several voluntary bar associations).

Last week we introduced you to Teressa (Tess) Tylman who transformed from Anglo to Hispanic overnight when she decided to run for Circuit Court Judge in Miami-Dade County under the name Teressa Cervera.

Last Friday we were emailed an intercepted communication between candidate Tylman (Cervera) and another candidate for Circuit Court Judge, Brenda Gitchev Guerrero.* Ms. Gitchev Guerrero filed to run in Group 20 against Incumbent Judge Robert Watson.

[Rumpole notes- the conversation which is a satire and NOT REAL is listed below. We do not have Title III powers, and do not intercept communications.]

First, a bit of a background on Ms. Gitchev Guerrero.  Unlike Ms. Tylman, she did not magically become Hispanic overnight. Brenda Liz Guerrero was born in Puerto Rico. She married Veselin Gitchev (from Bulgaria) in 1997. She then began using the name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero. Nothing wrong with that.

Ms. Gitchev Guerrero became a member of The Florida Bar in 2005. She is a former ASA where she worked in the Child Support Division. She currently owns her own practice specializing in family law. She incorporated with the Florida Department of Corporations in 2017 using the name Law Office of Brenda Gitchev Guerrero, PLLC. She is listed with The Florida Bar as attorney Brenda Gitchev Guerrero and she uses the email address of brenda@gitchevguerrerolaw.com. She has a Voter ID card under the name Brenda Gitchev.

On January 21, 2022, she filed her initial paperwork to run for Circuit Court Judge in Group 20. She filed under the name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero. She then proceeded to submit additional paperwork to the Division of Elections:

Statement of Candidate, filed 1/21/22, under the candidate name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero

Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office, filed 1/21/22, under the candidate name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero

Candidate Appointment of Campaign Treasurer, filed 1/21/22, under the candidate name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero (name used three times in this filing)

Amended Candidate Appointment of Campaign Treasurer, filed 1/24/22, under the candidate name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero (name used three times in this filing)

Financial Disclosure, filed on 4/26/22, electronically signed using the name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero

Candidate’s Checking Account opened under the name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero Campaign Account and filing fee check filed on 4/26/22 using the name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero.

Then, on 4/27/22, last Wednesday, Ms. Gitchev Guerrero, filed her Candidate Oath, where she asked that her name on the ballot read, drum roll please, Brenda Guerrero.  As we said at the top of this story. This is not Tylman becomes Cervera. Brenda Guerrero was born with that name. But, Ms. Guerrero was officially running for Judge for 115 days under the candidate name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero. She has held herself out in the legal community for 17 years as Brenda Gitchev Guerrero. Then, on day 116 of her campaign, she requested to have her name placed on the ballot as Brenda Guerrero.

Oh yeah, one more note. Last Friday, (two days after she decided to run as Brenda Guerrero), when Brenda Gitchev Guerrero renewed her Florida Corporation with Sunbiz, she electronically signed as both officer and registered agent under the name Brenda Gitchev Guerrero.


*Here is just part of that intercepted conversation:

Teressa Tylman Cervera (TTC): Hi, is this Brenda Gitchev Guerrero?

Brenda Gitchev Guerrero (BGG): Yes it is, who is this?

TTC: Hi, you don’t know me, my name is Tess Tylman, I mean Tess Cervera and I am running for Circuit Court Judge. I am challenging an Incumbent named Lody Jean. I see you are running against Robert Watson.

BGG: Yes, that’s true. It’s nice to meet you Tess Tylman

TTC: Cervera. You mean Cervera.

BGG: Oh yes, sorry about that.

TTC: Listen, Brenda, if I may call you that. I hope you don’t mind if I extend just one word of advice to you about running for judge.

BGG: No, go right ahead. One word though?


BGG: Excuse me Tess?


BGG: I don’t quite understand.

TTC: Your name. It’s not Brenda Gitchev Guerrero, it’s Brenda Guerrero. Got it.

BGG: Ah yes, I got it Tess. Mucha suerte en la campaña. adiós

TTC: Huh, what did you say?

BGG: Mucha suerte en la campaña. adiós. It’s Spanish for Best of luck on the campaign. Goodbye.

TTC: Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish. Goodbye.**

**The preceding conversation was all in jest, all satire, and never actually took place.

Buena suerte a todos los candidatos en la campaña.


Friday, April 29, 2022





In Circuit Court, four Incumbent judges drew opponents this year while 19 Incumbent judges were re-elected without a challenger.  In County Court, three Incumbent judges drew opposition and 12 Incumbents were re-elected without anyone filing against them. 

And congratulations to Judge-Elect Marcus Bach Armas who was first to file in the open seat vacated by retiring Judge Edward Newman. Bach Armas did not draw an opponent and he can now turn in his season tickets to the Dolphins front office and exchange those seats for an aqua and orange judicial robe. How fitting that Judge Newman, an offensive lineman, who played in three Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins, winning one (Super Bowl VIII over the Vikings), is being replaced by the senior counsel for the team he played with for 12 years. Thank you Judge Newman for your 28 years of service to the citizens of Miami-Dade County.

As an added bonus to getting re-elected, your Circuit and County Court judges are expecting a very nice bump in their salaries come July 1. That presumes that Governor DeSantis does not issue a line item veto on the amounts recommended in the Budget bill. 

Under the new budget, effective July 1, a circuit court judge’s salary would increase from $165,509 to $182,060, and a county court judge’s salary would rise from $156,377 to $172,015.



Group  3 

Lody Jean (I)
Teressa Maria Cervera

Group  20

Robert T. Watson (I)
Brenda Gitchev Guerrero

Group  34

Mark Blumstein (I)
Ariel Rodriguez

Group  52

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts (I)
Jason Bloch

Congratulations to the following 19 judges who have earned another six years on the CIRCUIT COURT bench:

Group  4        Christina Marie DiRaimondo (I)

Group  6        Laura Shearon Cruz (I)

Group  9        Marcia del Rey (I)

Group  10 Scott M Bernstein (I)

Group  12 Bertila Ana Soto (I)

Group  16 Tom "Tomas" Rebull (I)

Group  26 William I. Altfield (I)

Group  28 Jennifer D. Bailey (I)

Group  32 Barbara Areces (I)

Group  39 David H Young (I)

Group  40 William Thomas (I)

Group  41 Milton "Milt" Hirsch (I)

Group  45 Samantha Ruiz Cohen (I)

Group  46 Ramiro C. Areces (I)

Group  59 Nushin G. Sayfie (I)

Group  62 Gina Beovides (I)

Group  63 Marlene A. Fernandez-Karavetsos (I)

Group  64 Zachary N. James (I)

Group  74 George "Jorge" A. Sarduy (I)



Group 05

Fred Seraphin (I)
Renier Diaz de la Portilla

Group 19     

Jeffrey M. Kolokoff (I)
Lissette De La Rosa 

Group 42    

Scott Janowitz (I)
Alicia Garcia Priovolos

Congratulation to the following 10 judges who have earned another six years on the COUNTY COURT bench along with Judge-Elect Bach Armas who avoids a contested election:

Group 03        Ayana Harris (I)

Group 07        Marcus R. Bach Armas (OPEN SEAT - JUDGE NEWMAN RETIRING)

Group 08        Carlos H. Gamez (I)

Group 11        Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson (I)

Group 13        Elisabeth Espinosa (I)

Group 15        Linda Melendez (I)

Group 23        Carroll Kelly (I)

Group 27        Miesha Shonta Darrough (I)

Group 28        Cristina Rivera Correa (I)

Group 35        Chiaka Ihekwaba (I)

Group 39        Julie Harris Nelson (I)

Good luck to all of the candidates. Enjoy your long, hot summer trekking your way from Florida City north to Aventura and from Miami Beach west to Sweetwater and all points between. Enjoy every pancake breakfast, medianoche sandwich for lunch, and turkey and mashed potato dinner on the way.

The primary election takes place on Tuesday, August 24, 2022.

 *We apologize if there were any last minute filings that we missed but this was pre-scheduled due to circumstances not under our control; (conflict in schedule - as I am in trial).


Thursday, April 28, 2022


 Some days/weeks are busier than others at the best legal blog in the United States. This is one of those busy weeks. 

As your favourite judges and ours flock to their favourite watering holes  and bend a black robe covered elbow trying to erase the thought of a person ambling up to the window at 11:59 am on Friday and filing to run against him, we have a crack team of reporters sniffing out who is filing, who is not, and who is changing their name to the Miami Dolphins First round draft pick tonight. 

Meanwhile, in another story we have been following, the ups and downs and foreclosures and forbearances of Bruce "The Bank Banger" Jacobs, the Florida Bar (Motto "We never met a lawyer we liked") moved in the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday for an Emergency Suspension of Mr. Jacobs for having multiple ethics complaints pending. 

We do not envy Mr. Jacobs. The Bar is like Dracula*, they can pass you by and not bat an eye, but once they set their sights on you, they are as blood-thirsty as a night-dwelling Transylvanian and can be as angry as a swarm of Alex Michaelses attacking prosecutors. 

Multiple ethics violations. What to do? It reminds us of what the great Sy Gaer would often say when the state moved to revoke his client's bond for a second or third arrest: "If that is not the clearest indication of a pattern of police harassment judge, I don't know what is." We give that one as a freebie to Mr. Jacobs learned Bar Counsel defender. 

2022-559 Petition 80029 Petition2dsuspension2028emergency29 by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

The Bar: " The Florida Bar also moves to suspend the license of one Horace Rumpole, notorious and cantankerous blogger of Miami for calling the Florida Bar Dracula."

Court: "Why do we have to hold this hearing at night after sunset?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


BREAKING NEWS: In Circuit Court Group 52, Incumbent Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts now has an opponent. Jason Bloch has filed paperwork today to run in that Group. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS RACE IS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION INCLUDING A FEW NUGGETS YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS READING.

UPDATE: Rumpole Says: The Japanese have a saying: "When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him." 

We have a saying here in Miami: "When an Anglo woman married to a Hispanic man decides to run for judge, she brings her newly adopted name to the ballot."

Well done Captain. And we hope Ms. TMTC (hijklmnop-LSMFT) decides to email us and respond to this post. She is invited to do so without any edits (unless she curses at us). 



We have been writing for this BLOG (thank you Rumpole) since late 2005. We got into this business to report on the JNC process, newly appointed judges named by our Governor, and judicial elections. If you are an avid reader, then you know that we have, on several occasions, called out judicial candidates for playing the Name Game. In order to enhance their appeal to a certain segment of the voting population, a candidate who went by one name for years and years overnight becomes a totally different person.

Well, in 2022, that honor (but will she eventually be called Her Honor) goes to attorney Teressa Maria Tylman.


According to The Florida Bar, Ms. Tylman was listed as an active member of the Bar under the name Tylman from her admission in September of 2010 until February of 2022. She also used the email address for Bar purposes of tessatylman@gmail.com

On February 23, 2022, according to The Florida Bar, she changed her last name to Cervera and her email address to teressamcervera@gmail.com and she became:

Teressa Maria Cervera, The Florida Bar, Admitted: 9/23/10

6800 Bird Rd # 444
Miami, FL 33155-3708

So, with the help of an anonymous tipster, we did some checking.


According to SUNBIZ, Ms. Tylman is currently and since inception has always (for ten years) been incorporated under the name:


Current Principal Place of Business

2030 SW 60TH AVE
MIAMI, FL 33155



According to the MIAMI-DADE PROPERTY APPRAISER, (we ran her office address used on Sunbiz), she and her husband own a home at that location, under the name, you guessed it, Tylman:



WARRANTY DEED: Signed June 7, 2017

*Adam Cervera is Teressa Tylman’s husband. He is an attorney employed by the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff.


According to LinkedIn, at one time Ms. Tylman was employed by the Law Firm Fein & Meloni, under the name, you guessed it again, Tylman:

Teressa Tylman - Fein & Meloni - LinkedIn


According to her VOTER Registration card, Ms. Tylman is 37 years old, she is registered as a Republican, and she uses the name, you guessed it, Tylman, on her official voter’s ID card.


According to our investigation, the most recent Florida Drivers License issued to Ms. Tylman was issued on February 12, 2022, under T-xxx-xxx-85-552-0. The name on the license, you guessed it, Teressa Maria Tylman. Only eleven days later, Ms. Tylman was changing her name with The Florida Bar, from Tylman to Cervera.

Let me say very clearly that, Ms. Tylman, is not breaking the law. We last exposed the Name Game charade in 2018, when in Broward County, an attorney names Jason Allen (his middle name) Rosner decided to file paperwork to run for Judge under the name Jason Allen-Rosner. The reasoning for the hyphen was all to in your face clear - Rosner did not want to be listed last on the ballot of the four competitors in his race and by changing his name to Allen-Rosner he went from last to first on the ballot.  We have also reported numerous times in Miami-Dade County when a judicial candidate magically gained an Hispanic name, seemingly overnight.

But running for Judge means that one has read and is familiar with the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon One of the Code discusses INTEGRITY and states that "An ..... honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity ..... of the judiciary may be preserved."

INTEGRITY, for those of you keeping score at home, is defined as: "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles".


We previously spoke with Jesse Dyer, an attorney in the General Counsel's office with the Division of Elections, Florida Department of State, and here is what he told us about the issue of what name they permit to appear on a ballot:

First, there are no Florida Statutes nor Florida Administrative Codes that directly address this issue.

Second, there is an Advisory Opinion issued by the Division of Elections, authored 36 years ago, AO Number 86-06 that primarily addresses "nicknames" appearing on the ballot.

The AO reads, in pertinent part:

" ..... Under common law principles, not abrogated by Florida law, a name consists of one Christian or given name and one surname, patronymic or family name; therefore, the name printed on the ballot ordinarily should be the Christian or given name and surname"..... "However, it has been determined that any name by which a candidate is known is sufficient on a ballot, and a person is legally permitted to have printed on the ballot the name which the candidate has adopted and under which he or she transacts private and official business, 29 C.J.S. Elections §161."

The Advisory Opinion goes on to state that:

"Election officials, however, may be justified in refusing to print on the ballot a candidate's nickname when it is not shown that the nickname ever was used by the candidate as part of his legal name, and such officials may be equally justified in refusing to print on the ballot a candidate's choice of a name which has not been adopted by him or her and under which the candidate has not transacted private and official business. See C.J.S. Elections §161."

For 37 years, Teressa Maria Tylman held herself out as Tylman. When she married her husband, Adam Cervera in 2014, she continued to use the Tylman name for another eight years. But when she decided to run for Circuit Court Judge against Judge Lody Jean, Tess Tylman magically became Teressa Maria Cervera, overnight.

So, there you have it. Maybe it’s time for a change in the law. Or maybe, just maybe, we should expect just a bit more integrity from some of our judicial candidates.**


**Ms. Tylman aka Cervera is invited to email us with an explanation/understanding as to why she decided to change her name with The Florida Bar in February to Cervera. We will print her emailed response on this Blog (with her permission of course).

***The photo above is of the UPS Store located at 6800 Bird Road.  Ms. Tylman aka Cervera has her law office address listed with The Florida Bar, as #444, at that location.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022





In County Court, 13 Incumbents have already filed in their Groups. Judge Edward Newman, in Group 7, is retiring. One attorney, Marcus Bach Armas, has filed to run in that Group. He has yet to draw an opponent, and Mr. Bach Armas is doing everything he can to dissuade anyone from filing against him as he has already raised $136,154 and loaned his campaign another $21,000.

Three Incumbent County Court Judges have opponents. Judge Fred Seraphin, Judge Jeffrey Kolokoff, and Judge Scott Janowitz.

Here is your current line-up for the County Court judicial races.

Group 03         Ayana Harris (I)

Group 05         

Fred Seraphin (I)

Judge Seraphin has paid his Qualifying Fee in the amount of $6,255.08
He has a net worth of $306,179
He has raised $100 from one contributor
He has loaned his campaign $7,166
He is paid $156,377 as a County Court Judge
He was appointed to the bench in 2001 by Gov. Bush. He ran unopposed in 2004 and unopposed again in 2010. In 2016, Milena Abreu ran against him. Seraphin won 50.16% to 49.84%; (he won by 677 votes out of 210,919 cast).
When I first reported on this election back in January, Seraphin was the only Incumbent who had not yet filed for re-election. He is now in catch-up mode as an opponent filed against him on Monday.

Renier Diaz de la Portilla

Mr. De la Portilla filed in this Group on Monday, April 25 and there are no financial documents on file.
He has been a member of The Florida Bar for 14 years.
He runs his own law practice concentrating primarily on criminal defense. He is also a mediator.
He has been a candidate in numerous elections over the course of his lifetime.
He was elected to the Miami-Dade School Board in 1996 at the age of 25 and he served two years.
He was elected in 2000 at age 29 to the Florida House in District 115 in a special election and he served two years. He ran for re-election in 2002 and lost to JC Planas in the primary, 45-43%.
He returned to the School Board from 2006-2012 winning a couple more elections.
In 2012 he ran in House District 103 and lost to Manny Diaz Jr 55-39%.
In 2014 he ran for Circuit Court Judge against Veronica Diaz and he lost 57-43%.
In 2020, he ran for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission, District 5, against Eileen Higgins and he lost 53-47%.
If I forgot to mention any of his elections, I am sure Renier can update me in the Comments section.


Marcus R. Bach Armas 

Attorney Bach has paid his Qualifying Fee.
He has a net worth of $3,673,240 (plus great Dolphins seats).
His annual salary with the Miami Dolphins is $190,663.
He has raised $136,154 from a total of 217 contributors. 
He has loaned his campaign a total of $21,000
He has been a member of The Florida Bar for 13 years. One year at Holland & Knight, one year as a Law Clerk to Fed Judge Gold, and for the past 11 years he has been with the Miami Dolphins now serving as their Senior Director of Legal & Gov’t Affairs.
I believe he is the son of former County Court Judge Mercedes Bach (1995-2008).

Group 08        Carlos H. Gamez (I)

Group 11        Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson (I)

Group 13        Elisabeth Espinosa (I)

Group 15        Linda Melendez (I)

Group 19     

Jeffrey M. Kolokoff (I)

Judge Kolokoff has paid his Qualifying Fee.
He has a net worth of $2,182,366.
His annual salary as a County Court Judge is $156,377.
He has raised $40,225 from a total of 74 contributors. 
He has loaned his campaign a total of $325,000
He has been a member of The Florida Bar for 15 years. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. DeSantis in April of 2020 and this is his first election. Prior to taking the bench he was an ASA and then worked for the law firm of Beighley, Myrick.
Judge Kolokoff is clearly trying to scare his opponent into another race. Up until March, he had held zero fundraisers and had raised only $13,325. He finally held his first fundraiser just over a month ago and 50 contributors donated a total of $26,900. On March 30th, Kolokoff loaned his campaign $250,000.

Lissette De La Rosa 

Attorney De La Rosa has paid her Qualifying Fee.
She has a net worth of $543,576.
Her annual salary with Heritage Py. & Casualty is $165,979.
She has raised $56,135 from a total of 81 contributors. 
She has NOT loaned her campaign any money.
She has been a member of The Florida Bar for 20 years. Hard to find out much about her law practice. She appears to have previously worked in the area of Estates and Trusts in the Tampa area. She is currently employed by a Clearwater property insurance company, Heritage Property & Casualty, in their Sunrise office.

Group 23        Carroll Kelly (I)

Group 27        Miesha Shonta Darrough (I)

Group 28        Cristina Rivera Correa (I)

Group 35        Chiaka Ihekwaba (I)

Group 39        Julie Harris Nelson (I)

Group 42        

Scott Janowitz (I)

Judge Janowitz has paid his Qualifying Fee.
He has a net worth of $425,000.
His annual salary as a County Court Judge is $156,377.
He has raised $18,750 from a total of 36 contributors. 
He has loaned his campaign a total of $1,000
He has been a member of The Florida Bar for 16 years. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. DeSantis in April of 2020 and this is his first election. Prior to taking the bench he was an ASA in Broward and then worked for the law firm of Geyer, Fuxa.
Up until two weeks ago, Janowitz hadn’t even held a fundraiser. He had only raised $2,800 from 6 contributors. He is way, way behind his opponent in fundraising.

Alicia Garcia Priovolos

Attorney Priovolos has paid her Qualifying Fee.
She has a net worth of $1,816,344.
Her annual salary as an ASA is $94,890.
She has raised $61,865 from a total of 135 contributors. 
She has loaned her campaign $50,000.
She has been a member of The Florida Bar for 16 years, all of that time as an ASA in Miami-Dade County. She is married to former ASA and current criminal defense attorney John Priovolos.

You don't want to miss our column on Wednesday - we promise, you won't be disappointed.