Wednesday, June 29, 2022


 We want to invite you into a world of rancorous hearings and sanction motions and bar complaints and motions to recuse and petty jealousies and rages by Judges sanctioning lawyers (Bruce Jacobs) for raising defenses that plaintiffs were using fraudulent documents. It is a world of sanctions and fees and personal anger at a level never seen in the hallowed (and currently empty) halls of the REGJB. 

It is the world of mortage foreclosure defense.  The brief filed by Bruce Jacobs very competent counsel- David Winker- is troubling to read. Well respected Judges including the Judge de jour- Hanzman- come off looking not so great, threatening lawyers for raising defenses and arguing issues that - it appears to us- they have every right to raise and argue. 

It is world where mortgage foreclosure apparently consumes the litigators and the judiciary; where both plaintiff and defense counsel come to view their roles as avengers, and in which both sides have been repeatedly sanctioned and disciplined. It is a world where different appellate districts have taken vastly different views of the law and the practice of foreclosure defense, in which some districts buy whole heartedly the defense theories of fraud and robo-signing of documents, and other districts- notably the 3rd DCA- go so far as to sanction lawyers for advancing those defenses. 

It is a world in which Bruce Jacobs was forced to dig deep into himself, exploring his spirituality to sustain him through increasingly dark times. And it is a world in which Bruce Jacobs repeatedly defended homeowners pro bono, and stared down banks worth billions, forcing them to abandon mortgage foreclosure actions rather than respond to discovery orders. It is a world where Bruce Jacobs won a federal law suit vindicating his theories of fraud on the courts, and it is a world in which Hawaii was considering hiring Bruce Jacobs because of his fearsome advocacy, until well funded lobbyists, fearful of his lawyering, poisoned the well. 

It is a world we want no part of. The rancor and hatred and personal animosity that has apparently split both the bar and judiciary down the middle shocks us.  Give us a good death penalty case rather than the mean-spirited acrimony of foreclosure actions. 

Read the brief and decide for yourself. 

Initial Brief on Merits (1) by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


 Well let's see. We've had our abortion debate. We made fun of the FACDL Listserv woops....verboten to mention that...the F Word... how about some meat and potatoes...woops this is Miami....some Picadillo and Maduros on the old grey lady -the REGJB. The              ol' summer judicial rotation is here and it's darn official.

Add the honorific "The Honorable" to every name...it's an anathema to us to do it....

Milton Hirsch takes over Division 12  formerly Ramiro Areces. Courtroom 7-4 and appropriately, chambers 713, which is a magical number in baseball. 

Areces receives in the trade a new couch and a hotshot setting clerk. 

Areces goes to Division 70, commonly known as ROC court, an appellation sure to catch the attention of Magistrate Goodman, but alas, ROC stands for "Repeat Offender Court" and has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead or the Rolling Stones or rock-n-roll;                    but sentencings do tend to evoke the lyrics "What a long strange trip it has been." 

Areces remains in courtroom 2-4 and chambers 212, which as most Miamians know, is the OG NYC area code for a 100 years until they needed 718. 

When the music stops in musical chairs, there is always someone who has to leave the playing field, In this case it is Joe Fernandez, who is shipping out to Probate, the judicial equivalent of leaving the Yankees for a stint at AAA Buffalo Bisons. We have no information on chambers and courtrooms for probate because we have no information on where probate is. And as to the courtrooms, not to make a bad pun, but it's not as if there are clients who can show up. Do they have courtrooms in probate? Do they have trials? Do motions mention executrixes these days? 

NB: Judge Areces is taking some time off, so for now you have Judge Laura Sheron- Cruz pinch hitting. And if you want confusion, then look at the Sheron-Cruz-Altfield sharing of drug court and a division. Actually the rules are pretty simple- Clients who names begin with A-F merely have to count the letters in their name and then the logarithm of that number, if it is an equal number, the case is sent to Altfield, unless the month ends in R and then it is sent to Cruz. If the number is odd, but not a prime number, then the case is sent to Cruz, unless the infield fly rule is in effect with less than two outs and runners on base. For drug court it is simply the opposite. Clients who names begin with G-Z are simply required to show up in drug court where they will be given further instructions. 

So there you have it. Your much anticipated, long awaited, rumor inducing, Viagra taking, E....Street....Band.....2022 summer REGJB judicial rotations. 


Monday, June 27, 2022


 At the request of a reader who wishes to remain anonymous, we post their response to our post approving of the legal reasoning in Dobbs. Note that we have not expressed approval of the social impact of the opinion. 

Response to Rumpole. 

Thanks for the opportunity Rumpole. Start with the fact that  you make no reference to the impact on stare decisis and the respect for precedent. And yes, I know your three word response will be "Plessy v. Ferguson." But isn't there a way to disapprove of the reasoning in Griswold and Roe without reversing rights that those opinions codified and have become integral to life in this Country? Let's pretend that the reasoning in Brown was similarly suspect. Would we allow states to start separating school children by race? Your criticism of Wickard, which was an Interstate Commerce Clause case, and set the stage for courts to strike down racist laws and drag the country into integration. Would you now support laws allowing businesses to segregate dinning rooms? Are you ready for the old days 1900-1960's of Miami Beach and the signs "No Coloreds and Jews"?  Can you not criticize the court for striking down rights that may have been in artfully found, but exist nonetheless and have taken root in society? The Court could have profoundly rebuked the reasoning in Roe and Griswold without changing the fabric of society. By doing so the Court's six justices- who give lip service to not legislating- have done thus that. What they have done legislates more than Roe and Griswold X1000. 

Under Thomas's reasoning, with new challenges the Court not just cannot- but following Dobbs MUST strike down laws allowing mixed race marriages, same sex marriages, and reinstate the Connecticut law banning the sale of contraception to even married people. At what  point does the tyranny of the minority of state legislatures (albeit with majorities in those states) affect the rights of Americans? When two women or two men or a mixed-race couple rent a hotel room as a married couple in Kansas, South Dakota, or Texas, they will likely be subject to arrest and prosecution. Or is the court going to find in the commerce clause rights that it cannot find in the 14th amendment? 

As the Dobbs dissent says: 

Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.

Can it be that we live in a country that can advance technologically to land a man on the moon but jurisprudentially is stuck with allowing its citizens only those rights recognized in the 19th century? You can use a cell phone and access the internet but have no right to contraception. Child labor laws, not to mention many civil rights laws are all now in jeopardy. Should Texas repeal a woman's right to vote, so be it. Can we live in a UNITED States that is so disunited State by State? 

Now I turn to abortion. Your philosophical hero, Ayn Rand supported an abortion because she did not or could not find a potential right (of life of the unborn child) to conflict with an actual right of a woman to make a medical choice to her own body. If life does not begin at conception, then wasn't Roe on the right track, allowing abortions when the fetus wasn't a viable life? If a person's right to make medical decisions about their own body was not endemic to the founders, then what about all those words regarding the right to Life and Liberty in the Declaration of Independence? Did they only apply to white men? 

If the Bill Of Rights was sufficient, we would have not needed the fourteenth amendment, but we did. How does the right of a man to get a vasectomy square under the equal protection guarantee with the now non-right of a woman to get a certain medical procedure.  

The dissent in Dobbs says: Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of.

How do you respond that under the 14th amendment as of today a State can now FORCE a woman to give birth from the moment of conception, an idea more at home in China or North Korea than New Hampshire (Live Free or Die?). 

Tossing aside the precedent of Roe and Griswold is infinitely more complex and destructive than the reversal of Plessy. At some point we do require Judges to say "Yes- we as a country have these ideals and they cannot be abrogated by a state legislature. We have the ideal and right to equal treatment despite race, sex, religion or sexual preference. Therefore Judges can express and uphold these rights, not specifically stated in the Constitution, but fully accepted by a society. To live in America means to live in a country where a person can marry whomever they choose; where a person can pray or not pray; where a person has the full right to exercise their medical decisions over their body, including the right to transition to another sex, the right to get plastic surgery, the right to have a vasectomy or abortion, the right to enhance or reduce their breasts and buttocks, the right to eat at any restaurant (assuming they can get a table), and the right to gamble on sports."

The effect on our society after Dobbs is to create the tyranny of States. States can now outlaw abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, interracial marriage, gambling, sale of liquor, use of marijuana, use of electric cars, the opening of any business on any day that the State decides is a sabbath, the use of cell phones, the use of cars....basically you name any modern action that didn't exist in the 19th century, and the right does not exist in the fourteenth amendment and thus can be legislated out of existence as per Dobbs and Thomas's concurrence. 

This is worse than China or Iran or North Korea. And Iran is a great example. The country is ruled by religious leaders, and I can think of at least 25 states that would support similar laws propounded by religious leaders. 

Dobbs goes way deeper than criticizing Griswold and Roe. Dobbs opens the doors for a return to the dark ages where vaccines and medical science and human rights are legislated away by majorities of uneducated Americans who are influenced by Fox News, former president Trump, and believe that horse medicine is better than people medicine. Take a poll- a majority of them, or close to it, believe the earth is flat because they cannot see that it is a sphere. Dobbs returns the rest of us to being ruled by uneducated, ignorant people, and the very few smart ones who spend their days manipulating them and gerrymandering state legislature voting maps to achieve their goals for power.  We are headed for dark dark times my friend. 

Welcome to America 2022. 

Thanks again for the opportunity to respond. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022


 Take a deep breath. Relax. Whichever side of this issue you are on, we will walk you through it. 

Sun Tzu wrote "If you know yourself and your enemy, you need not fear the result of 100 battles."

Abortion opponents knew themselves and their opponent (The decision in Roe). They were destined to overturn Roe because, if you read Roe and understand Roe,  Roe was deeply flawed not in what it decided but how it was decided. It is not the type of decision and constitutional reasoning you want replicated in Supreme Court jurisprudence. The opponents of Roe knew this days after it was decided.

To understand this, you have to separate social decisions you believe are "right" from correct legal reasoning and jurisprudence. There are a myriad of wrongs you may want to address. Childhood hunger; homelessness; universal health care. Sounds good right? Even utopian. 

Now if you are in favor of abortion, know your enemy (see Sun Tzu above). The people who hold opposite views may also truly and deeply believe the United States is a Christian nation; that every day in school should start with a prayer to Jesus Christ; that people should be allowed to carry sidearms everywhere they go; that taxes should be lowered to the point where there is no welfare or unemployment insurance; that people should be in charge of planning for their retirement not the government, so end social security. 

How do you want those very different view points of deeply held belief resolved? By popularly elected legislators or judges appointed for life and answerable to no one but their own conscience and views? 

Now lets look at Griswold v. Connecticut. In order to find the right to buy contraception and strike down a Connecticut law prohibiting the sale and use of contraception, the court had to find a right to privacy in the constitution. Where did Justice William O Douglas find a right to privacy? In the "Penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution. In other words, in the shadows and some type of pulses that he was able to discern. How did he discern what lay in the shadows? Did he have special glasses? Or a special insight others lacked? No. Douglas just wanted to find a right to privacy, and since it wasn't written in the Constitution, but he believed in the result being right, he just found one. Douglas wrote :"Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship"

Do you see what Douglas did? He found something repulsive, and wrote that it must be wrong and if it's wrong there must be something in the Constitution prohibiting it. In other words, his personal sensitivities offended, Douglas wrote for a court and legislated away a wrong with a right they created by finding it in the shadows of the bill of rights. 

Hurray for Douglas and Griswold. We can now buy contraception and we have a right to privacy. BUT.... Douglas and Griswold set the stage for other judges, generations later to find what they would want to find in the Constitution. A right to carry firearms everywhere. A right not to be taxed for welfare or social security. A right to have a picture of Jesus Christ in every school room and every courtroom. The imposition of the death penalty in a myriad of non-murder cases. 

If you live by the sword you die by the sword. If you live by judicial decisions on what individual judges feel is right, then you die by it. If you are a "liberal" do you really want Trump appointed judges "finding" in the Constitution rights that they see in the shadows the way Douglas did? Think about that. 

Which brings us to Roe. Read Justice Alito's decision in Dobbs. His criticism of Roe is inexorably correct. And the decision "upholding" Roe-  Planned Parenthood v. Casey- did most of the work for Dobbs majority- barely upholding Roe, but abandoning it's flawed reasoning. Proponents of Roe cheered Casey for saving Roe, but they were whistling past the graveyard- cheering the result and ignoring the reasoning. Alito did not ignore the reasoning of Casey, which set the stage for Dobbs. 

If you really want to understand Dobbs, read Thomas's concurring opinion attacking the substantiative rights found in the fourteenth amendment. When you read Thomas's concurrence, keep saying to yourselves "if they can do that- if they can find that right- what else can they do?" See Wickard v. Filburn- upholding a law during WWII that a farmer cannot use the wheat he has grown to feed his own animals. Thomas is not attacking same sex marriages, but Roe proponents think he is. Thomas is attacking the way Obergefell v. Hodges found that right- hiding somewhere in the shadows of the fourteenth amendment. Which case does Obergefell cite? Griswold of course. 

What is implicit in the holding in Dobbs is that Alito and Thomas are saying "are you really sure you want to put your future and wellbeing in the hands of judges who may or may not think the way you do?" Think of your least favourite Judge. Do you want them finding something in the shadows of the Constitution? 

We understand that social impact of Roe and overturning Roe. Should social impact be a part of constitutional jurisprudence? "We cannot find the right to eliminate hunger in children, but everyone agrees it is abhorrent so henceforth a child has a right under the constitution not to ever be hungry..."  Which leads to:  "We cannot find the right of the government to help people prepare for retirement, henceforth social security is held to be unconstitutional..." 

The opponents of Roe took the time to deeply understand the decision, and exploited its flaws. The proponents of Roe simply said  and continue to say "The decision that a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body is right. It must be right, no matter how that decision was reached." See Griswold v. Connecticut. 

Dobbs takes Roe down on the WAY the decision was reached. As of Saturday morning, the proponents of Roe are just demonstrating that the result in Roe was right. They care not how it was reached. This is a roadmap for a future of unending losses for the proponents of Roe.

They know neither their enemy nor themselves and as Sun Tzu wrote : "If you know neither yourself not your enemy you will succumb in every battle." 

Friday, June 24, 2022


 Writing for a 6-3 majority, Justice Sam (I am Green Eggs and Ham) Alito reversed the holding in Marbury v. Madison, writing "after a careful reading and re-reading of the constitution, and viewing several you tube videos on the matter, we cannot find the right to judicial review and precedent in the Constitution". After declaring the value of precedent "limited based on the political leanings of the justices in the majority" the court, first initially and expressly over ruled Roe v Wade "we find no right to an abortion in the constitution" and in a concurrence by Justice Thomas, Thomas wrote "there is no right to privacy in the Constitution, no right to buy contraception, no right to same sex marriage, no right to sex, no right to pizza, no right to the internet or to drive a Tesla or bet on Football and only a limited right to purchase and view pornography" after which Thomas wrote in parenthesis (hehehe). 

Earlier in the week the court found no right to not wear a gun in public in New York, upholding a law requiring "every free white man" to carry a firearm in public." 

'Justice Barrett wrote "Guns and gun rights are mentioned in the constitution. There's an amendment in there somewhere on guns for gosh sakes. There is no amendment on women and women's rights. If that right there doesn't tell you all y'all need to know about guns, abortions and womens, then nothing does. Geeze. " 

In a footnote, Judge Alito wrote "we fully expect challenges to the right for women to vote, the right to an integrated education, and to reaffirm in the strongest possible terms the decisions in Korematsu and Plessy v. Ferguson. When this country was founded, women did not vote, blacks were slaves, and they were lucky to have a separate but equal status. We now adopt those founding principles of this great nation and caution courts against liberal judges ruling on an 'evolving moral standard.' There is nothing in the constitution that allows this country to have evolving moral standards and it is the duty of this and every court to return this country to the standards of the late 1700s. We expect plantations, and slavery, and the imposition of the death penalty for a wide range of cases. And the sooner this happens the better." 

In case you've been in trial or living on a farm in Montana with no wifi (heaven) the Supreme Court today overruled Roe v. Wade, and Justice Thomas wrote in a concurrence that he saw no reason not to overturn similar rulings on same sex marriage, the right to adult consensual sexual relations outside of marriage, and the right to contraception. We are NOT making this up. You wanted Trump Judges, you got em!


Wednesday, June 22, 2022


 Where we grew up it was widely known that in a bar fight, the person who got hit the most was the guy in the middle trying to break it up. 

The Guy in the middle- Judge Hanzman 

Which leads us to this El Herald article (good luck getting behind the firewall) about Judge Michael  Hanzman and what the paper and some litigants call his "legacy case" the one-billion-dollar settlement in the Surfside Condo collapse and tragedy that took the lives of 98 innocent people. 

While receiving near uniform praise, Hanzman has come in for some criticism as well, mostly from the victims and next of kin who are unhappy with his sometimes brusque manner in quickly facilitating a settlement by pushing the lawyers, cajoling, and using the bully-pulpit of the bench. Not everyone is happy, and as we all say in the law, that makes for a good settlement. 

Coming up next, Hanzman's ruling on legal fees. From the beginning he was clear that the court would not approve the standard 25-45% recovery fees in civil cases. The rumor is the lawyers are seeking ten percent, which still rolls in at one ...hundred...million....dollars. A legal fee that even causes Rumpole to standup and take notice that maybe there might be something to this civil business after all. 

The case has seen the donation of the mediator and his time without any legal fees, and reduced fees for a "receiver" and a "receiver's attorney" whatever that may be. The only Miami receivers we know anything about are Tyreek Hill and his compatriots for the Dolphins. 

Is this Hanzman's legacy case? Has he created the blueprint for how future judges will handle mega tragedies like this? Did he do a great job, or is some of the criticism about him "forcing a settlement" well taken? Are litigants tired of the Judge repeating that desire for perfection should not stand in the way of a good settlement? 

Judge Hanzman brings a wealth of knowledge to the bench about complex civil litigation. But here is a fact we know about him - after taking the bench he served a rotation in perhaps the hardest and most heart wrenching division- dependency court. He didn't have to do that, but he brought his considerable skills to families and children in crisis. That speaks volumes for the type of dedicated judge he is. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2022


 Dear Miami Judges: 

We know that prosecutors continually tell you that police officers are unfailingly polite. They do NOT and we mean NEVER EVER threaten drivers to take them to jail for driving without a seat belt. Who would do such a thing? Not a Metro Dade Police Officer. 

Take a look at this unfailingly polite and decent officer conducting a traffic stop with politeness. No threats of jail. No threats of being killed for not immediately turning over his DL and insurance and registration. So you just go on with your head in the sand about how police officers are always decent and kind and polite and never ever ever threaten the citizens they work for. 

Res ipsa loquitor. 

Your obt' srvt. 

H. Rumpole, Esq. 

Blog Proprietor. 

Monday, June 20, 2022


 Today is Juneteenth. You may not expect what we are next going to write. There will be no pablum decrying slavery and celebrating the end of the civil war and the end of slavery. We understand the holiday, but we do not feel it. 

Honestly, we were not aware of the holiday until perhaps a year or two ago. It's importance in African American culture did not permeate our thoughts. So we will not bore you with inspiring words we can write but do not feel. It would be inauthentic and we do not wish to go there. 

Instead we do two things: we invite those who do feel this holiday to write about it and we will put some of those comments in this post. Better people who understand this holiday write about it then some well intentioned interloper. 

And we pause for a moment to reflect on what we do feel. Dr. King was in Memphis before he was murdered to support a sanitation workers strike. He was planning another march on Washington regarding economic discrimination. We have always felt that was the great unfinished business of his life, and it continues to this day. 

What is the opportunity for disadvantaged Americans to make a better life for themselves and their families? That is what we think about on days like today. And we reflect that as the world undergoes changes because of Covid, and as we transition away from young people graduating college to a forty year life of putting on a suit and tie and commuting to an office, perhaps the time for change is upon us. Young people make money from social media by streaming things. They produce videos about travel and food and adventure and people watch and they make money from it. Race or sexual preference or nationality does not seem to factor into this equation. Technology is leading the way to economic opportunity. 

The Poor Peoples March on Washington DC did occur, without Dr, King, Led by Ralph Abernathy on June 19, 1968, Juneteenth was given a boast and people who left the march returned home and began their celebration of Juneteenth for the first time, commemorating the order issued by Union General at Galveston, Texas, that the war was over and all slaves were free: 

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."

Please write about Juneteenth. People who read this blog deserve to have words written by those who understand the holiday in way we admittedly never will. 

Enjoy the day off. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022


 With the NBA finals behind us, and a performance for the ages by series MVP Steph Curry,  NBA top ten lists are popping up everywhere, with the question of the day being whether Curry cracks the top ten. Polymath that we are, we weigh in with our own NBA top ten. It's easier said than done. 

1. Bill Russell. Defense wins championships, and Russell won ELEVEN. Think about that. We celebrate Jordan and his six. Russell nearly doubled that. He probably averaged close to 12 blocks per game according to NBA historians who researched the issue. He invented the tap to a teammate to start the fast break. He was THE BEST defensive player in the history of the NBA. No one is a close second. And he won, over and over and over again. When you're starting a team. you must pick Russell first because he was the all time greatest winner in the history of the game, and winning championships is the name of the game. 

2. Wilt Chamberlin. He averaged OVER 50 points per game FOR AN ENTIRE SEASON (61-62). he was the greatest physical specimen of a player the game has ever seen. But unlike other seven plus footers, he was as good an athlete as the six foot point guard. He was in his time the player who dominated the game. He finished with 23, 924 rebounds- nine thousand MORE than Kareem. They had to change the rule book for Chamberlin and outlaw goaltending, because he just plucked balls off the rim, stopping opponents cold. He just didn't win like Russell did and that's why he's number two. 

3. Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The NBA is a big man's game, and Jabbar fills out the top three centers of all time.  38,387 points. An unstoppable sky hook. Two NBA Finals MVP awards FOURTEEN YEARS apart- a remarkable achievement. Six championships. He played longer than Chamberlin and was a better offensive player than Russell. If you were down by one, with two seconds left in game 7, is there any other player in the history of the game that you want taking the shot than Jabbar and his skyhook? Nope. And there's never been another player like him, and never will. 

4. Magic Johnson. A 6-9 point guard who changed the game in 1979 when he entered the league with Larry Bird. He could play all five positions. He brought a type of energy  and joy to the game not seen before him. When you talk about top 5 players, you're looking at people who changed the game. The best individual player anyone will ever see was Michael Jordan. The best athlete, he did remarkable things, but he didn't change the game. The top four players did. 

5. Michael Jordan. Which brings us to MJ. He didn't change the game. He just played it better than anyone ever did. He gets the slightest of nods over Larry Bird. But numbers don't lie, and MJ won.  His teams did a threepeat TWICE- with a sojourn to baseball in between. He was the defensive player of the year in 1988 and he also the preeminent unstoppable scorer. While Kareem is our top choice for one player to take the last shot with the season on the line, MJ was money in the clutch and is the top non-center player who we would want to take that shot. 

6. Larry Bird. Three time champion. Three time MVP. Perhaps the most complete forward of all time. He saw the game like maybe only Magic did. Their ability to make the players around them better makes them stand out from the Chamberlins, Russells, and Lebrons of the NBA. 

7, Oscar Robinson. The Big O. He AVERAGED   a triple-double for an ENTIRE SEASON as a 6'5 point guard.. No one other than Russell Wsstbrook has ever come close to that (double figures in scoring, rebounds, and assists). In his 1962 triple- double season he averaged 30.2 points per game when there was no 3 point shot (along with 12.5 rebounds and 11.5 assists). He could score from anywhere at any time and his assists show he made his teammates better. He was the only player other than Wilt or Russell to win an MVP award between 1960 and 1968. We will take the Big O over Lebron any day of the week. 

8. Jerry West. The Logo (the NBA logo is him). He averaged 47.5% shooting for his career. 12 all star teams. 5 all defensive teams. He averaged over 30 ppg in the playoffs and over 40ppg in the 1965 playoffs (11 games). Yes he only won one championship, but that's because Bill Russell was an immoveable force against his Lakers. 

9. Lebron James. Blah blah blah Lebron. Came back from a 3-1 deficit in a championship series. Blah blah blah. He has no heart, but he has skills, so here he is. 

10. Dr. J. Julius Erving, our last player on our top ten list changed the game. He took it to the air. He flew before Air Jordan and he did things no one has ever seen before or since. 

Honorable Mention. We don't know where Steph Curry should be, vis-a-vis Kobe, and Havlicek, Kevin Durant;  Dwayne Wade; Kawai Leonard; John Stockton; Allen Iverson, and Russell Westbrook. But we know this, we have never seen a player shoot from downtown the way Curry does when he gets hot. Those shots where the ball slips into his hands and he seems way too far away and he doesn't just shoot but launches his shot and hits nothing but net, are just unreal. And happily, Steph is not done yet. 

The big men who didn't make the top ten are legion and legendary in their own right. Moses Malone; David Robinson; Shaq; Elgin Baylor; Hakeem Olajuwon; Karl Malone; Kevin Garnett; Patrick Ewing. 

It's tougher than it seems to make this top ten list. We put Magic as a 6'9 guard as number four because he was so unique. Kevin Durant fans can howl in rage- Durant is seven feet tall and a total freak of nature with his athleticism and ability.  If Chamberlin is number two, then how about Hakeem who dominated or David Robinson who was as complete as player as Kareem was? 

We did our best, now it's time for you to tell us how wrong we are. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022


 There is a Zoom crisis brewing and we, as members of the defense bar are part of the problem and not the solution.  To be frank we are dropping the ball on Zoom and could lose it and it would our fault. The fault dear Brutus lies not in the stars but in our zoom-selves, or words to that effect, 

Clients are zooming in from bed; clients are on zoom with no shirt on (presumably male clients since there is no national media story about a half-naked woman in Miami appearing in court); clients are on zoom enjoying repasts and imbibing all sorts of drinks; clients are on zoom using illegal substances. 

Meanwhile lawyers are appearing on Zoom in casual T-shirts; from pool cabanas; from the side of the road on their phone with 18 wheelers rumbling by; on the golf course from a golf cart; on a boat cruising Biscayne Bay. 

In short, we as lawyers are not treating zoom hearings seriously and we have a responsibility to get our clients in line, which we are not doing. We rant on these widely read blog pages about Judges ending Zoom not understanding the benefits Zoom brings to a legal practice. But in meetings, the Judges zoom back, pointing to the type of behavior and dress that would make Russ Meyer shake his head in disgust. *

Your FACDL representatives are out there fighting for your zoom. But they cannot win the day when judges point out multiple instances of clients acting like...clients...and lawyers acting and dressing like tourists trying to bribe their way into Club Space on a Saturday night. 

The 20th judicial circuit has some well thought out Zoom guidelines. It's almost enough to put them on the map (because we have no idea where the 20th is). 

Please review these guidelines. Go shine your shoes. Put away the Nike golf shirt and Bermuda shorts and Cleveland Guardians Baseball cap (what a ridiculous name for a baseball team) and put on a jacket and shirt and tie or a blouse and jacket ( and do not drag us down the road as to who should be wearing what- this whole gender pronoun business is not for us- we are too old to want to know and care about it). 

Remember. Like a driver's license, Zoom is a privilege. 

Virtual Courtroom Decorum 20th by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

*Russ Meyer was a 1970s notorious soft pornography producer who produced films with titles like Valley of the Super Vixens and featured women with very notable and prominent...ummm....hmmmm how to say this? ....frontal features is the best we can come up with.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2022


There's a Juicy REGJB rumor making the rounds...read below for more. 

 If you need a job, public service jobs  in NYC are looking for Lawyers.  Legal Aid and County Defender Services  (their version of PDs) and State Prosecutors are all leaving because of low salaries. 

A starting salary at a big or medium sized law firm in the Big Apple is around $200,000.00/yr plus bonuses while public service legal jobs like Legal Aid start lawyers at $74,000.00/yr. When you consider NYC rents can be over $2500 for a studio, that money goes fast. 

From the NY Times Article

The Legal Aid Society, New York’s largest provider of criminal and civil services for indigent clients, has lost 10 percent of its staff, or about 200 people over the past 12 months, a 73 percent jump from the organization’s 2021 attrition rate. That number includes 55 public defenders who try criminal cases, 37 legal services attorneys who represent clients in housing and immigration court, as well as numerous paralegals, investigators and social workers.

Other defender organizations have even higher rates. Over the past year, Brooklyn Defender Services has lost 40 attorneys, or 27 percent of its staff; and the New York County Defender Services has lost 30 attorneys, or 24 percent of its staff. The Bronx Defenders has lost 18 attorneys, while the Queens Defenders has lost 17 attorneys.

The rumor mill: 

There is a judge leaving the REGJB and going to probate while a former REGJB Judge in probate is returning to the REGJB where he will no doubt  continue his one judge assault on fingerprints. 

But the question is WHY is the judge at the REGJB being sent to the land of the dead? 

Could it be, as some are whispering, his well known animosity to Zoom? 

Just wondering while grinding the rumor mill. 

Coming Soon: Which large North American Country just did away with life in prison with no parole? Hint- it's not the USA, eh. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


 The story broke Tuesday by superstar reporter David Ovalle on his twitter @Davidovalle305 (no use linking to an article behind a firewall)  that MDPD police detective Armando Socarras pled guilty during a bench trial before Judge Tinkler Mendez. Socarras was caught stealing $1300 cash during a fake drug bust set up by public corruption detectives. The prosecution- rightfully so- was seeking an adjudication and prison. Judge Tinkler Mendez declined to follow the recommendations of the prosecution and sentenced Socarras to twenty-four months probation and withheld adjudication. 

Here is why we support that decision. 

First, what Socarras did was reprehensible. And we sincerely doubt this was his first rodeo. Cops have been stealing money from contraband busts ever since Al Capone was running booze during prohibition. In federal court, the land of no-mercy, there are enhancements for public corruption by police officers which would have boosted the almighty federal guidelines into a severe prison sentence. The 18 USC 3553 factors would have also supported a prison sentence under the "send a message" theory to other corrupt police officers, which we imagine there just might be a few more in the Sunshine State. 

And of course there is the defense attorney mindset of punishing a cop who has been responsible for so many defendants going to prison. If he stole money, maybe just maybe he lied on an a-form! Judges everywhere reading this blog are gasping at that last sentence. How many times have judges based their decisions denying motions to suppress on the theory that "this officer would not put her career on the line to lie in this case." News flash- yes they would and they do all the time. 

So lets start with the proposition that the prosecution's request for a year in prison and an adjudication was, if anything, lenient, perhaps reflecting Socarras's plea, albeit at the very last moment. 

Now we turn to the sentence, issued by a Judge affectionately called "Tink" by the denizens of the REGJB. 

This was a first offense (or at least a first arrest). The defendant had significant money pressures. Although it hurts the public perception of law enforcement, he stole drug proceeds, not the life savings of an elderly person. Socarras faces the loss of his law enforcement credentials, if he hasn't lost them already, and the loss of his career. He has admitted his responsibility and appears motivated towards rehabilitation. 

Our point is this. There are tens of thousands of defendants every year in a similar position to Socarras. And probably five percent of them get the type of mercy shown by the judge here. The rest of them. a large majority of them most likely African-American young men, have their life thrown into the gulag. Sent to prison, they emerge hardened and more bitter. Unable to get a job or public housing, their limited future narrows even more. Judges send people to jail for up to a year for misdemeanor and traffic offenses for goodness sakes. How many people in Socarras's position receive the type of reasoned mercy and a sentence that Judge Tinkler-Mendez issued? 

The answer is far too few. And this is the starting point. Good lawyers should  now repeatedly tell felony judges how Officer Socarras got a withhold and probation while stealing from a crime scene. "And if he got that sentence then why isn't my client entitled to.....(fill in the blank)? "

For years we perambulated around the REGJB on bond hearings telling Judges that Joyce Cohen got a bond, so why can't my client get a bond? This lasted until the current crop of thirty-something judges would stare at us blankly, having been in diapers at the time of the last great murder trial in the REGJB. 

The point is we hope and want our judges to be more than human calculators, adding up points and issuing a top of the guidelines sentence because while we all know there is NO SUCH THING as a trial tax, it just so happens that in this case, despite the pre-trial probation offer, ten years prison is the right sentence here. 

We applaud Judge Tinkler-Mendez for her bravery. It isn't easy to show mercy when the public is watching. People want the death penalty for all crimes, until they or a loved one are charged, and then they cannot understand why the punishment is so harsh. 

Let's hope this is the start of a trend of treating people a bit more humanely, especially in non-violent crimes. If Socarras gets in  trouble again, it most likely will not be a violent crime and he can still be sentenced to prison. Without a badge he does not represent a danger to our community. 

Let's see what happens in other cases, and if you have a case similar to this one where the Judge wants a five year prison sentence, let us know. The door swings both ways on praise and public criticism. 

Monday, June 13, 2022


 Florida will now charge defendant's $100.00 dollars in cold, hard cash, for motions to transfer probation to another state. As a member of the Interstate Compact on Detainers, as well as many other compacts, the law provides for a one-hundred-dollar fee and the fee is NOT waivable. Like that Federal Special Assessment. Do or don't do whatever you want with the Feds, but pay your one hundred dollar special assessment or else. 

The new transfer probation fee is the same. No money no motion no order no nothing. 

We like the fee. We'd like to see the whole system transformed into a "pay as you go" system. You pay for driving on the turnpike to Orlando. You pay for the HOV lane on I-95. And you pay for criminal court proceedings. 

Arraignment fee: $25.00. And like the airlines, there should be groups. Want to move from group five to group one? Pay another $25.,00 and be called within the first ten cases. 

Motion to continue fee: $50.00. Delays cost the system money. Everyone knows that. 

Motion to compel discovery? The losing party pays $50,00 bucks. If the state hasn't sent discovery, they pay the costs of the motion. 

Motion to dismiss: $100.00. 

The point is that why stop at motions to transfer probation to Las Vegas or Oklahoma? Everything we do in court costs money. The clerks have to make notations on the file for each case (notation fee?). They have to place everything we file in the file (filing fee?). They have to find the file and bring it to court (finders fee?) and the calendar clerk has to calendar hearings (calendar fee?). Court reporters have to take down everything that is occurring (reporting fee?)  and judges have to pretend they are interested in the proceedings (judicial fee?). 

So let's pay as we go, because in for a penny, in for a bitcoin (which today is worth a whole lot less than it was worth yesterday. 


 In light of certain recent developments, perhaps it is time we review the purpose of this blog which you all so love to read and apparently love to hate. 

The creator made the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. 

Rumpole came up with the idea for the blog in about six minutes and finished the rest of his wine on the seventh. 

The halls of the great old gray lady, the REGJB, were our milieu at the time of creation, with an occasional foray to the 3rd DCA and downtown to federal judges who mostly scowled and for some reason, felt the overwhelming need when we began pre-trial detention hearings to remark "now this is not state court and this is not a deposition..."                     We took it personally. 

There are only so many stories in the Magic city at the REGJB, and therefore from time to time we ventured beyond our comfort zone. Along the way we have received a lot of praise, some well earned criticism, and some nasty comments from people who, quite frankly, are just jealous of us and have never created anything in their  sorry little lives. 

Which brings us to the surprising responses to our Super Spreader post on what we, in the post called "The F Word". 

It seems out federal colleagues, many of whom are friends, are upset at the way we portrayed their CLE seminar and the unfortunate result that many of them got Covid. 

So let's think about this for a moment. There were two ways we could have intruded on Mr. Markus's territory and written about the result of many lawyers getting sick from the seminar. 

Way 1- "Hey everyone. A lot of people who went to the recent Federal CLE seminar are coming down with covid. Isn't that just a shame? Y'all be careful now and get better soon. Luv ya, Rumpole.

OR...using the sort of snarky humor that we bring to almost everything we do, we wrote about people going to a seminar, the alcohol fueled bragging about trial victories that we all know takes places, and using some creative energies, compared the event to the Great Gatsby, which lets face it, many of our colleagues (and most of our judges) have not read. 

Do you REALLY think that we were criticizing the seminar for having men dressed in tuxedos and women in evening gowns strolling great lawns while  violins played ? Or was that just literary license for having a little fun with some of the self importance of some members of the bar? Did we gently criticize people for not wearing masks by quoting, of all people, Rocky? Yes. Was it mean spirited? We think not. 

But of course as Felix Unger said on the Odd Couple, "Legal minds may differ." *

And therefore, if Rumpole's way of reporting on the comings and goings of the legal community is just not for you, we invite you to exercise your first amendment rights AND NOT READ THE BLOG. Go somewhere else and read something else. 

By now it must be evident to you, like all great artists and writers, we do what we do for an audience of one- US.  If we like what we have written, and it makes us smile and chuckle, then, no altruists we, we have achieved our goal for the blog. 

So we say to our stuffy federal colleagues, we hope you didn't get sick. We never intended to appear  to delight in the misfortune of those who did get sick, and we hope everyone has recovered. 

And in closing, we take solace in the Bard who,  at the end of A Midsummer's Night Dream has Puck say this: 

If we shadows have offended, Think but this and all is mended. That you have but slumber'd here, while these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream. Gentles do not reprehend; if you pardon we will mend. Else the Puck a liar call, give me your hands, if we be friends, and Robin shall restore amends. 

Of course, if it was a reach to think that the Great Gatsby quote would resonate, how could we begin to think that resort to Puck's famous speech would arouse even the barest sense of recognition? But then again, as we said, we wrote this for an audience of one. 

  • * See The Odd Couple, Season 4, Episode 22, "One for the Bunny." Every scene in which Felix is in a courtroom is classic, and this one is no exception. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022


 If you read your favourite blog long enough, everything is addressed. Chicago Style Hot Dogs? Yup. Literature and music? Sure. Pizza? Always. And now, as summer approaches and fourth of July barbeques are being planned, we do the French Fry Dipping Sauce Post. No need to address the best French Fries, those belong to Nathans in Coney Island New York. McDonalds are in the discussion for second place along with a host of others.

But this post caught our eyes- the best non ketchup French Fry dipping sauce. 

We admit to going into the post thinking "this is nonsense. It's ketchup pure and simple." And yet, when we started reading, we began think "hmmmm, you may be right."  So assuming ketchup is number one, we rank the other sauces listed.  Don't blame us if you go off your diet this weekend.  Every sauce mentioned is listed in the article. But we have re-ranked them to our preference. 


Chipotle Aioli. A perfect substitute for ketchup with a  smokey flavor created by mixing Duke’s Mayo, adobo chipotle peppers,  oil, salt and fat. This will make you forget about the Heinz quicker than when Warren Buffet dumped his Heinz stock.

Chili. Now this is a bit unfair, because really this should be a chili-cheese fries dish, and we admit that even when we order chili-cheese fries, we put a little ketchup on it.  One thing for certain is that this dish demands it be eaten with a cold beer.

Cheddar Mornay. Now this is intriguing.  A Mornay is a classic French sauce made with bĂ©chamel and cheese. 

Thousand Island/ Comeback sauce. According to the article Comeback sauce  has roots in Mississippi cuisine and supposedly got its name from the southern practice of saying farewell, with some variation of “Y’all come back now!”

Banana ketchup. Never tried it, but it sounds better than the rest. Invented by Filipina food technologist and war heroine Maria Orosa, this condiment is made with banana, sugar, vinegar and spices.

Now we approach the part of the list where we say- no thanks, we will have our fries plain. 

Mayonnaise. It's British, along with some vinegar. But not for us. Save the mayo for the tuna salad. 

Garlic Aioli. Nope. 

Chimichurri Sauce. Double nope. Save it for the steak. 

Truffle mayo.  Sounds better than it is. 

Kimchi mayo. We do NOT like kimchi. 

Ranch Dressing. Fries are not carrot sticks. End of discussion. 

Now we get to the mustards. And the answer is NO. If some mustard from the hot dog drips on to the fries and mixes with the ketchup, that is one thing. But to dip a fry into mustard is to dip ice cream into hollandaise sauce. It is just not done amongst polite company. 

Dijon Mustard. See above.  

Honey Mustard. OMG no. Never. 

So there you have it. Plan your summer outing eatings. Make the burgers and hot dogs and slaw and potato salad. If you will be in the northeast. like Rumpole will be shortly for the summer, the lobster roll will be a main staple of our daily repasts. But through it all, like Baseball, runs a long thread of a potato. Fired and salted and ready for your toppings. 


Friday, June 10, 2022


 Broward County is going back to in person only court hearings. Of course they are. Zoom makes life too easy for lawyers and clients and Broward Judges CANNOT HAVE THAT. Rule Number 1 of Fight Club is that you don't mention Fight Club. Rule Number 1 in Broward is "No lawyer or litigant shall have an enjoyable experience in Broward Court." The corollary being "We will make you miserable."  The second corollary of Broward being "If it makes your life easier, we will put a stop to that."

There is an admirative order floating around, but it is NOT on the Broward 17th Judicial Circuit Website (found at 666.com).  And since we are in Miami, we can safely have a little fun with the "No Fun Allowed" county of Florida. 

Of course Broward is about do to this when the Miami Herald is reporting a new, more severe, and more contagious form of the Virus that Must Not Be Named in Broward  (VTMNBNIB).

True or False- The Administrative order says masks are voluntary? *

T/F The Administrative order prohibits any and all litigants from mentioning the supposed efficacy of a vaccine? 

T/F The Administrative order has a fine schedule for lawyers who try to appear by Zoom after it goes into effect? 

T/F The Administrative order obliquely references that the last presidential election was stolen? 

T/F The Administrative order calls the pandemic "The China Flu"?

Zoom has made the practice of law so much easier. A lawyer in West Palm can appear in Broward or Dade or Port St Lucie on a motion to compel discovery, or a report re plea, at 9 am, and be on their Peloton by 10 am. 

The Broward Judiciary knows this, and it has driven them crazy for more than two years. 

Broward County- the no fun, make life harder, don't wear a mask and don't mention vaccines - County. 

If the Judges North of the Border have their way, this is what the line to get into their courthouse will be on a daily basis. Nothing will make them happier than seeing this from their chambers in their new swanky courthouse. 

* As if you need the answers, the first one is true. The rest are false as near as we can determine. 

Thursday, June 09, 2022


 Gregg Wenzel was an assistant public defender in Dade County. After 9/11 he joined the CIA and enlisted in the clandestine services, finishing first in his class. 

Gregg was killed in the line of duty in Africa while working for the CIA hunting Bin Laden. He became the 81st star on the CIA wall honoring agents who are killed in the line of duty. For many years the star for Gregg was anonymous until his identity was able to be revealed. In his honor a post office bears his name in his hometown. 

The latest edition of the Florida Bar New has a front-page story on Gregg  here. 

It would be nice if the PDs and the Judicial Administration got together and created a memorial in the courthouse to remember one of our own who was and always will be a true hero and patriot. 

If you have any other questions about Gregg and his life and service, reach out to Brian Tannebaum, who as a good friend has attended all the ceremonies for Gregg at CIA with Gregg's family, and has kept the memory of his friend alive. The FACDL gives out a Gregg Wenzel award chiefly because Brian lobbied to have the award named in his honor.  

Here is a prior post we did on the naming of the post office for Gregg. 

We live in a dangerous world. On D Day we remembered the sacrifice of those men 78 years ago. And while each and every solider in WWII was and is a hero, the need for heroes didn't end with their victory in WWII. Gregg Wenzel picked up the torch they passed and lost his life into the service of his country. He is every bit the hero of any of those men and he deserved to be remembered long beyond the time the rest of us pass from this earth. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2022


Because we are prohibited, pursuant to a consent decree from publicly even mentioning the name of a particular Listserv which begins with the letter F- so let's call it "the F word" , we must speak hypothetically, lest we find ourselves in a Dep/Hurd-like defamation lawsuit. 

So assume hypothetically the F Word Listserv had members who attended some sort of federal seminar ten days or so ago. And assume hypothetically the lawyers who attended the seminar started feeling sick a few days after attending the event. And assume hypothetically some of the lawyers on the F Word copy and send emails to yours truly, then what emerges is a picture of a ....

SUPER SPREADER COVID EVENT .... (cue ominous omicron  music). 

Covid/Omicron is ripping through a dedicated group of federal defenders who just wanted to attend a resort, get some CLE, and whilst at the bar, be able to say "so then during cross of the government's snitch I get them to say they met with my client ten times without telling the government. The judge sent the jury out of the room and ripped into the prosecutors for not disclosing that and they dismissed the case the next day..." 

Because what's a CLE conference without a little alcohol-fueled war-stories-bragging? 

If you close your eyes and imagine the Great Gatsby, that's what we imagine the off hours at the Super Spreader event to be. Men in tuxedos, women in long evening gowns, sipping champagne cocktails, sans mask, laughing at hoi poloi  wearing masks serving them petit fours while musicians playing violins stroll the grounds. 

In any event, as Rocky said in Rocky I, "If youse wanna dance you gotta pay the band. If youse wanna play, youse gotta pay the man. "

Paying the man in this instance being getting Covid for being so confident that your vaccine status protected you from Omicron. It does not and it will not do so until the new batch of vaccines this fall are approved. 

We hope all of you recover quickly and remember, a lawn party does not give you the right to not wear a mask. No mask=Covid. It is as simple as that. Be safe. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2022


 In the 1980's a series of frightening sexual assault cases terrorized Miami and Broward, as dozens of women, living along, were attacked by someone who would wear a pillowcase over their face or place it over the victim's face. 

Robert Koehler, 62, was in custody in Miami, for a sexual assault case. A BSO detective became aware of the allegations and remembered the old Miami cases and tested Koelher's DNA against what was recovered from victims and got six hits. Koelher has been charged in six additional cases in Broward. 

The investigation reveals that Koehler has been arrested multiple times since his terror spree in the 1980s for breaking into women's apartments up and down Florida's east coast. But it was not until recently that he has been identified in the Pillow Case rapists cases. 

The current detectives credit the organization of the original files, including five hundred boxes of evidence, as allowing them to obtain the material necessary to conduct the tests linking Koehler to the Pillow Case rapist cases. 

While we frequently praise defense attorneys for their work, we do remark that as citizens of Miami, we want good, effective law enforcement, and this was an example of that. 

Monday, June 06, 2022



General Mark W. Clark- Inscription at exit to American cemetery in Normandy, France.

About 2500 Americans died on June 6, 1944. That number was to rise dramatically in the coming days while the US airborne was asked to clear to Cotentin PenĂ­nsula, and the US Infanty engaged in a meter-by-meter fight to clear the hundreds of hedgerows that lined the interior of Normandy. While the initial landing was a success, it took weeks until the allies could break out of Normandy and head towards Paris. The fighting was difficult and intense and deadly. 


General Omar N. Bradley
U.S. First Army Commander

In 1940 Germany fielded the best and most professional army in the world. By the time the citizen soldiers of America began to engage the German Army in Africa, there was considerable doubt about the ability of the US soldier and the Generals who led them. Several US commanders in the African and Italian campaigns were replaced. Luckly, there were men like Omar Bradely and George Patton who were available to take over command. Meanwhile, in remote camps across the United States, a new type of elite solider, called "Airborne" were undergoing intense training for the drop behind enemy lines when the time came to invade Europe. 

By June 1944 the American Army was ready. And those 18-25 year olds showed their true mettle and courage in places like Normandy, and Bastogne, Belgium, when Airborne troops wearing summer clothing, dug into the frozen ground outside of Bastogne, with little more than some mortars, grenades, and their rifles, and fought the Wehrmacht to a standstill until the weather cleared.  In nearly every battle and in the war, the United States showed that their citizen soldiers were equal to, and superior, to the professional German army, 


Sergeant John B. Ellery
U.S. 1st Infantry Division-  this quote is on the wall at the US Cemetery in Normandy. 


 This is a breaking story. The power is out at FDC Monday morning. Most likely it's one of those things where managers are looking at each other holding the FPL bill, each saying "I thought you paid it last month". 

Without power, those electric doors do not work. So visitation is canceled as of this writing at 10 am. 

Meanwhile, take a moment today and pause and think about those brave men, 78 years ago today, jumping into Normandy, France, and landing on boats to free Europe from what Winston Spencer Churchill called "the odious grip of the Nazis"

Friday, June 03, 2022


 Once again summer is upon us, and once again, male lawyers, against all common sense, wearing overcoats and ties to court on 90 plus degree days with 10000 % humidity. 

Stop the insanity. 

The other day we saw a lawyer on zoom from a dog park, t-shirt, shorts, and sunglasses, argue a motion. 

Surely a gentleman in shirt sleeves, shined shoes, and slacks appearing in court to hear the state say "victim wants max" will not cause the judiciary to come crashing to a halt. 

This will not happen: 

"You got a summons to jury duty next week."

"Did you see on the news that lawyer in court without a tie? Obviously they don't care about court anymore, so I am not going."

Nor will this happen: 

"And in other news today, the criminal court house closed for the rest of the summer. Chief Judge Schmidlap said 'ever since we allowed lawyers to not wear ties to court for simple matters everyone stopped showing up. It's puzzling. Must be the no ties order. I'll have to rescind it." 

Or this

"The Dow dropped another thousand points today as Russia stepped up its attacks in Ukraine and threatened to invade Moldovia. 'If Lawyers in the United States don't have to wear ties to court in the summer, then Russia doesn't have to leave the Ukraine' said Russian president Vladimir Putin." 

Stop the madness. 

Thursday, June 02, 2022


 This morning, we rose, completed our morning ablutions, donned a new suit despite the 90 degree weather, freshly shinned shoes, left our gentleman's bowler that we use for legal matters in London on the shelf, and drove to lot 26 where we parked our semi-luxurious vehicle in a nicely empty lot- the continued payments for a spot in lot 26 being our one non-concession to covid19. We will wear a mask in court, but you can pry our Lot 26  parking card from our hands only when we are retired and living in Sun City Arizona. 

Once in the old gray lady, we made the rounds, being suitably deferential to those who wear black for a living. We scoffed at prosecutors who have "victim wants max" tattooed on their foreheads, and we charmed clients and their families with our legal bravado and quick wit. 

It was, in all aspects, a part of our life that we lived every day since before many of the judges and prosecutors who surreptitiously read this blog, were born. 

Then came covid19, and the world will never be the same. 

And maybe that's how it should be. Covid has moved an aching and creaky and somewhat ancient -in thought if not age- judiciary into the 21st century. 

Long Live Zoom Court. 

BTW in case you're keeping count, on Wednesday at least four people were killed at an Oklahoma hospital mass shooting. 

You know the difference between the USA and Ukraine? The citizens of Ukraine know when they're under attack and can flee the war zone. In the USA every city, every public place, every school is a potential war zone. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2022





Will be chosen in the next ten weeks.

Of course, according to most insiders, the decision has already been made to choose Circuit Judge Renatha Francis of the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County.

For those of you that slept on this story back in 2020, there were two openings on the Florida Supreme Court. Gov. DeSantis was sent nine names by the JNC. Included in those nine names were John Couriel and Renatha Francis. The Governor chose those two as his next two Justices.  Couriel was quickly sworn into office. Not so with Judge Francis. You see, there was this little rule (it was in small print so DeSantis couldn't see it that well) in the Florida constitution that stated that a justice is required to have been a member of The Florida Bar for at least ten years.  Judge Francis, at the time of DeSantis naming her to the high court, was a member for only nine years.  She became a member of The Florida Bar on September 24, 2010.

So, Gov DeSantis, you know, the one who likes to follow the letter of the law, and the one who likes to appoint strict textualists to the bench; DeSantis decided that he would hold off on swearing in Judge Francis to the high court until September 25, 2020. Problem solved.

Not so fast though as a lawsuit was filed challenging the authority of DeSantis to name Francis to the high court in the first place.  The Florida Supreme Court heard the case and rendered their decision. Francis was not qualified and DeSantis needed to choose another nominee. He eventually chose Judge Jamie Grosshans.

Fast forward to 2022 and Justice Alan Lawson has announced his retirement from the Florida Supreme Court. The JNC has seventeen applicants and wouldn’t you know that, at the top of the list is none other than Judge Renatha Francis.

Now look, DeSantis had his reasons to appoint Francis back in 2020.  Justice Peggy Quince, the only justice of color on the high court, retired. DeSantis wanted someone of color on the Supreme Court. Forget the fact the both the JNC and the Governor passed over several much more qualified candidates; (six other candidates were of color and all had more experience).  None of the other candidates of color had “Federalist Society” on their resume though. Francis did.

There still is nobody of color on the high court today. This time around there are three applicants of the 17 that applied that are black.

Judge Cymonie Rowe, 15th Judicial Circuit.  Member of the Bar for 24 years. Appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in 2016. Attended Nova Law.

Judge Stephen Everett, 2nd Judicial Circuit. Member of the Bar for 15 years. Appointed as a County Court Judge in 2016 and a Circuit Court Judge in 2019. Attended LSU Law.

Judge Renatha Francis, 15th Judicial Circuit. Member of the Bar for 11 years. Appointed as a County Court Judge in 2017 and a Circuit Court Judge in 2018. Attended Florida Coastal Law.

But, only one of those three judges is an active member of The Federalist Society.

According to a story published in the Florida Bulldog on May 18, 2022, it’s a done deal - DeSantis has already decided to pick Francis. All the JNC has to do is fall into lock-step and name her as one of the finalists. Here is an excerpt from that story:

“Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Renatha Francis has already been seen checking out the Florida Supreme Court’s underground parking garage by St. Augustine Street; she let it be known she wants a coveted spot near the elevator to the justices’ chambers.

Space in the exclusive, heavily fortified garage won’t be available until Aug. 31, when Justice Alan Lawson retires. But Francis can count on getting what she wants, according to a court insider who communicated with Florida Bulldog on condition of anonymity because the Lawson succession plan is top secret.

“There is talk here that [Gov. Ron] DeSantis told the justices he is going to name Judge Renatha Francis to replace Justice Lawson because now she meets the qualifications,” the insider said.”

You can read the entire story here::

Chair, Florida Supreme Court JNC

Shutts & Bowen
215 S Monroe St Ste 804
Tallahassee, FL 32301-1858

Dear Chair Nordby:

This is an open letter written to all nine members of the JNC. Your Florida Supreme Court JNC received 17 applications to replace Justice Alan Lawson on the high court.  Back in 2020, your JNC nominated an unqualified candidate by the name of Judge Renatha Francis.

We all understand the desire for diversity on our high court. Among our 17 applicants, you have three who are of color. Two of those candidates, Judge Rowe and Judge Everett both have more experience that Judge Francis.

It has been widely reported in the press that Governor DeSantis has already made it clear of his intention to chose Judge Francis to replace Justice Lawson. But, for that to happen, your nine members must fall in line and agree to include Judge Francis’ name on your list of nominees.  Here is a novel idea - don’t do it. Nominate the six most qualified candidates for the job. And if you feel the need to make sure that at least one of your nominees is one of color, then nominate Judge Rowe, or Judge Everett - both are eminently more qualified and both have more experience practicing law and being a judge.

So, Mr. Nordby, shock the world and don’t name Judge Francis as a nominee.


Captain Justice
For the Justice Building Blog


Jeffrey Albinson, a lawyer with the Golden Scaz Gagain firm;

Edward Artau, a judge on the 4th District Court of Appeal;

Steve Berlin, a judge on the 6th Judicial Circuit;

Hunter Carroll, a judge on the 12th Judicial Circuit;

Eric Eisnaugle II, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal;

Stephen Everett, a judge on the 2nd Judicial Circuit;

Renatha Francis, a judge on the 15th Judicial Circuit;

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, a judge on the 11th Judicial Circuit;

Anne-Leigh Gaylord Moe, a judge on the 13th Judicial Circuit;

Denise Harle, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom organization.

Jeffrey Kuntz, a judge on the 4th District Court of Appeal;

Robert Long, a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal;

Tarlika Nunez Navarro, a judge on the 9th Judicial Circuit;

Cymonie Rowe, a judge on the 15th Judicial Circuit;

Meredith Sasso, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal;

Adam Tanenbaum, a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal;

Thomas Winokur, a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal;