Sunday, July 31, 2022


More from Year of Dangerous Days, Chapters 19 and 20 (quotes are directly from the book, as is the storyline that we worked from).

Saturday May 17, 1980, the 138th day of the new decade, dawned warm and clear. A typical Miami spring day. The heat of summer was looming. In Tampa, all of the police officers who killed Arthur McDuffie were acquitted in the early afternoon. As the unexpectedly early verdicts were being announced, the chiefs of the PSD (now Metro Dade PD) and City of Miami were standing with Janet Reno in African Square Park in Liberty City for a community event. At 2:30 pm beepers started going off. People went to pay phones and word began to spread- every cop on trial had been acquitted. There would be no justice for Arthur McDuffie. Six white jurors in Tampa had acquitted all the officers in just a few hours after a six-week trial- or in the words of Miami Herald reporter Joe Oglesby “in the time it took to eat supper.”

Reno got a terse message from George Yoss “No dice. Sorry Boss.”

Police officers evacuated Janet Reno as the brass made plans to mobilize. Black radio stations stopped the music as outraged DJs began to discuss the verdict. Bruce Springsteen sings “you can’t start a fire without a spark” in Dancing in the Dark.  Dusk was falling on Miami. It would soon be dark, in more ways than the night.

Three Herald photographers were attacked in their car in Overtown blocks from the Herald Building on Biscayne Bay. The windows were shot out; the vehicle dented by concrete blocks and rocks. The Herald chief of security ran to a nearby supermarket and bought gallons of cooking oil to pour down the slope leading to the building to slow down a mob.  On 62nd street, Michael Kulp a teenager and his brother Jeffrey were pulled from their car and beaten to death by a mob. Then shot. Then stabbed. Then repeatedly run over by a car as young black children watched.

Police cars on the streets were randomly shot at. Three thousand people- almost all black,   marched towards the PSD headquarters (which is now the PDs building -how many of you 30 something judges knew that?) shouting “Justice Justice Justice”.  Gunshots rang out. The crowd’s blood was up. Althea Range- Miami’s first black city commissioner, holding a bullhorn and shouting to keep the peace could not be heard, or was ignored: “She looked as slight as a sparrow in a storm.”

Rocks came through the windows of the HQ, “bullets snapped against the walls” and the lobby was breached despite the efforts of George Knox, the City of Miami's first Black City Attorney.  PSD officer Lonnie Lawrence, born and raised in Miami, raced to the lobby and confronted the mob: “Brothers and sisters do not come into this building…or a lot of you will be dead…there are a lot of people armed and ready to take people out.” The crowd retreated. But it was not over.

A squad of riot officers arrived at the Justice Building just as the mob arrived. Rocks rained down on the officers from the overpass; cars exploded; Molotov cocktails were thrown; a sniper opened fire on the officers who took refuge behind a police car which then exploded hurling a major and his officers across the street.  A SWAT team arrived, and the sniper stopped.

All the police could do was set up perimeters around Liberty City and Overtown. On the same street the Kulp brothers were killed, a 14-, 15- and 21-year-old were pulled from a car and beaten to death with rocks and hammers.

By daybreak 213 fires had been reported in Liberty City alone.” When firefighters arrived, they were shot at and retreated. At the Norton Tire factory, which was the biggest employer in Liberty City, 100,000 tires burned, casting a thick, black smoke over most of Miami. Close to 500 people were treated in hospitals that night.

Then the violence flipped. White men in a truck shot a black 14-year-old boy in the head as he ran across the street.  A black man trying to stop teenagers from throwing rocks at cars was shot in the back and killed by a white man whose windows in his truck were shattered by the rocks.

The civil-race war was on. “PSD received 22,000 calls in 48 hours.” Janet Reno, whose phone number was in the phone book and answered her phone at home, moved her mother out of their house because of the death threats she was receiving. 

In one month, May 1980, the boatlift and the McDuffie verdict shattered all that Mayor Fere had spent years building. Miami was no longer the future business and banking center of the Americas; it was a warzone. The National Guard showed up to restore order. The image of the city was not a Cuban Banker giving an Anglo business a loan to build in Overtown. It was the Norton Tire company on fire; dead people in streets, and officers huddling behind cars as they were shot at, while cars slowly drove down the streets with stolen refrigerators and furniture strapped to their roofs.

Calls went out for Janet Reno to resign. As the mayor in Coral Gables was speaking, one of his assistant city attorneys was shot when the police he was riding with stopped to end the looting of a salvation army store. Three men in a car pulling away opened fire. Refugees in the  Orange Bowl climbed to the top of the bleachers and watched their new town burn.

White voters across Florida regarded the burst of immigration, cocaine bloodshed and riots …somehow the fault of Floridians to the south.”

Miami, bloodied, burned, ruptured and bleeding was alone. And it was going to get worse.

Next Up: English Only. 

Friday, July 29, 2022


 After three weeks of what he called "noise" and "gossip" the jury in Denver in the federal murder trial of the Pennsylvania dentist Lawrence Rudolph that David Markus and Margot Moss are representing is out deliberating.  If all goes well, DOM will have avoided Rumpole's number one rule in trial- AVOID AT ALL COSTS A FRIDAY VERDICT. 

Here is the news article covering the closings. 

We sent DOM a little encouragement this morning:  Listen to Bruce Springsteen's No Retreat No Surrender just before giving the closing. Never fails to inspire. 


Let's say you attack someone for being arrested even though it is well known the arrest was wrong and the person arrested was wrongly accused and racially profiled and the charge was promptly dismissed. 

But by attacking the character and integrity of the person simply for being wrongly accused, you are ignoring the presumption of innocence- the foundation upon which all criminal law in this country rests. 

What does that make Mr. Renier Diaz De La Portilla A/K/A De La Commie ?

Why it makes him a Communist right out of Castro's Cuba- guilty until proven innocent. 

Get used to seeing this on the blog a lot in the coming weeks. We don't want no red Casto Communists on the Dade Bench, do we?



Thursday, July 28, 2022


Update: We are going to start pounding for a Bar Complaint against Renier Diaz De La Liar 

Check twitter. It's just the first of our responses. This cockroach needs to be squashed.  He is not fit to be a lawyer.  



We previously reported to our readers during Qualifying Week that Incumbent Judge Fred Seraphin drew a challenger in Group 5. That challenger is attorney Renier Diaz de la Portilla.

A little refresher on de la Portilla is in order:

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%.

Now, as reported on several news outlets, Team de la Portilla is responsible for a hit piece against Judge Seraphin that is vile, disgusting, dishonest, and could result in a Bar investigation.

On the same day that Absentee Ballots began arriving in mailboxes throughout Miami-Dade County, a political flyer attacking Seraphin also began arriving in mailboxes. The flyer accuses Judge Seraphin, falsely, of refusing to “release his arrest record” and of having a “criminal past”.

The flyer asks voters: “Should someone arrested for Armed Robbery be a Judge”? It goes on to state that: “No one who was arrested for a violent crime is FIT to be a Judge”. If that wasn’t shocking enough, the Flyer ends with “Call Seraphin at 305-xxx-xxxx and tell him to come clean” (The flyer actually prints Judge Seraphin’s cell phone number).

Anyone that knows Judge Fred Seraphin knows that he has been telling people for more than 20 years that the reason he went to law school, first became an Assistant Public Defender, and then applied to become a judge was because of his personal experience of being falsely arrested. Seraphin was a college student and the likely victim of racial profiling when he was arrested and falsely accused.  He was released from jail and prosecutors NEVER charged him with a crime.

When Governor Jeb Bush appointed Seraphin to the bench in 2001 Bush was well aware of the arrest.

The flyer was sent out by a PAC called Proven Leadership for Miami-Dade County. Who is behind that PAC - none other than Renier Diaz de la Portilla’s brother, Alex (a Miami Commissioner). In fact, Alex Diaz de la Portilla calmly admitted to being behind the information in the flyer.

Our readers have, in the past, called out Judge Seraphin, rightly so, for his courtroom demeanor on the bench. He once had to apologize for his refusal to let a female attorney take breaks during a trial to pump breast milk.

But, there is absolutely no excuse for a judicial candidate supporting the content of this flyer. The voters of Miami-Dade County have a clear choice, and those voters should speak loud and clear just like they did in 2012, 2014, and most recently in 2020, when they told Renier Diaz de la Portilla to go packing - we don’t need someone like you sitting on the bench in judgment of others.

*** Candidate de la Portilla’s Net Worth, according to his Financial Disclosure is NEGATIVE $91,667.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022


Few amongst the twenty-five-year-old assistant prosecutors and PDs and thirty-five-year-old judges know how the Miami they work in and Instagram about came to be.

There are four names directly responsible for Modern Miami. From those names come a chain of several dozen other names like Edna Buchannan (Herald Crime reporter) that made Miami what it is today.  Most of our readers under 40 can probably only identify two or three. We hazard no one can identify them all.

The names are: Janet Reno; Maurice Ferre’; Arthur McDuffie; and Napolean Vilaboa.

Reno was the State Attorney in Miami in 1980. Recently appointed, she was puzzling about how to respond to an alarming rise in the murder rate- including an unheard-of traffic shootout in broad daylight between Colombian Drug dealers. The new head of the Public Safety Department’s Homicide Division (MDPD used to be PSD)  Frank Marshall was to soon experience the infamous Reno scowl as his detectives repeatedly failed to get a grand jury to indict the suspects they arrested near the scene of the shootout.

Maurice Ferre’, a Puerto Rican, was the mayor of Miami.  Uneasy about Cuban support for his reelection, Ferre’ had a direct line to Jimmy Carter’s White House and the remarkably novel view that the future of Miami was not- like Miami leaders believed for the last hundred years-facing north. Ferre’ believed Miami’s future was south- to Central and South America and saw Miami as the future banking and commerce capital of the Americas.  Faced with an unpredictable Fidel Castro in 1979-80 who was suddenly amenable to allowing Cubans to leave, Ferre’ shouted Que Vengan Todos! (let them come) as Jimmy Carter concentrated on his reelection and counted on allies in Central and South America to help take in what he figured would be a few thousand refugees at most.

Arthur McDuffie- born in Overtown, a decorated Marine and successful insurance salesman was the unlikely catalyst to the explosions that would rock Miami to its core and nearly burn it to the ground. All because McDuffie unfortunately had a suspended driver's license. 

Napolean Vilabos is the most unknown of the four. A car salesman and member of the secret Miami Committee of 75-  a group of successful Cuban businessmen in Miami who had back door communications with Fidel Castro and his government.

One April morning in 1979 Napolean Vilabos decided to take US foreign relations into his own hands. He had received word through Castro that Cubans in Miami could go pick up their families by boat from a non-descript port named Mariel. On April 21, 1979 Vilabos led a flotilla of eight boats from Key West to Mariel to get members of his own family. Miami leaders speculated that perhaps five hundred or a thousand people would be allowed to leave Cuba via Mariel.  

 Vilabos’s flotilla broke a dam which had begun to leak with the most unlikely of events- a disaffected Cuban bus driver named Hector Sanyustiz, having been previously imprisoned for upsetting a Cuban official during a bus ride, crashed a bus through the gate of the Peruvian embassy in Havana and successfully sought refuge and asylum. Castro- unable to get Peru to return Sanyustiz- removed his guards surrounding the embassy. With the gates to the embassy broken open by the bus, first a few, then a dozen, then a hundred and then thousands of Cubans streamed into the Peruvian embassy in Havana seeking asylum. Miami Cubans rallied for their compatriots and suddenly there was a humanitarian crisis as thousands of people without food and water huddled on Embassy grounds waiting for the world to come to their rescue as Castro starved them.

Miami from 1900 to the 1970s was a parochial southern town that had some national appeal due to tourism. In reality Miami was several towns- the tourists had Miami Beach; there was the Anglo parts of Miami; Jewish parts of Miami;  the historic African American communities of Overtown, Liberty City and The Black Grove; and Little Havana for the Cuban refugees from 1959-60. Each part of Miami and each community had their own competing interests. Pressure was slowly building, and then 1979 and 1980 happened and Miami blew apart like Mt. St.  Helens. 

Several seemingly unconnected threads came together in 1978-79-1980 that caused Miami to fracture. Before new Miami could emerge, the old and fractured Miami had to die. The disaffected Cuban bus driver who would later storm the Peruvian embassy was released from prison the day Arthur McDuffie was beaten to death in Miami. Napolean Vilabos's small flotilla arrived in Mariel on the day prosecutor George Yoss gave the opening statement in the McDuffie murder trial. The FBI was investigating the PSD’s homicide squad for corruption right when the new State Attorney and new chief of homicide were facing a puzzling and dramatic increase in the murder rate over a new and unknown phenomenon – cocaine and the drug wars. 

Hundreds of thousands of refugees came pouring in to Miami just as billions of dollars of drug money washed ashore literally and figuratively. Lawyers cashed in; cops took bribes; the feds had no money laundering laws on the books to enforce; Janet Reno struggled to keep law and order as everything and everyone around her went slightly mad. Mayor Ferre’ touted the promise of America-Que Vengan Todos!- as he saw his town overrun by criminals and was abandoned by the president he helped elect four years earlier. The flood of drug money was such that the Miami Federal Reserve in 1980 had several billion dollars in cash while the rest of the Federal Reserve Banks had about a hundred million each. Cocaine was that big back then in our small city. 

Miami 1980. Sounds like the makings of a great book.

It is. 

All of the madness of Miami 1980 is pulled together in The Year of Dangerous Days-Riots, Refugees and Cocaine in Miami in 1980,  by Nicholas Griffin.

The book details Reno and George Yoss and Hank Adorno plotting prosecution strategies while defense attorneys like Eddie O’Donnell, Roy Black, Joel Hirschorn, Richard Sharpstein and Jack Denaro formed a Miami criminal defense bar that was to become the best in the nation. 

Edna Buchannan, in late December of 1979, having gotten a tip about McDuffie, was pushing cops to talk about a seemingly simple motorcycle accident that did not make sense to her or legendary medical examiner Dr. Joe Davis and ME Dr. Ron Wright who did the autopsy on McDuffie. Buchannan inspected McDuffie’s motorcycle at the impound lot before the homicide investigators did (she was that type of reporter) and she sniffed out that what the cops were calling an accident was a brutal murder. McDuffie’s murder-uncovered as much by Buchannan as PSD Homicide’s famous detective Al Singleton,  and the trial and acquittal of the cops that killed him, was the final spark that lit the flame that blew the top off what was a smallish southern city with some pale tourists soaking up the sun on a stretch of Miami Beach every winter.

It's a great book. We highly recommend you place it at the top of your summer reading list.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


UPDATE AND HINT ON COMING POST: What does the Peruvian Embassy in Havanna have to with modern day Miami and its recent history? 

COMMING SOON A blockbuster post on the history of Miami and four names who made it happen- at least two you will barely know. 

 SANDI has arrived! Hurray! 

From the "Media Advisory" of the Miami Dade Courts:

The Miami-Dade Courts are proud to announce the addition of SANDI, a new, artificial intelligence-based digital navigation assistant, to our website user experience....SANDI uses text-to-speech and voice command technologies, so those who are using an audio and microphone-enabled device can select the option to verbally ask a question rather than type.... SANDI understands Spanish....SANDI can answer frequently asked questions ... and direct users to the appropriate web pages for forms and instructions. If live assistance is needed, SANDI can connect the user to a paralegal or, if after hours, send a request to have a paralegal contact the user the next business day.

Being a BIG supporter of the Miami Dade Courts, upon hearing of the arrival of SANDI we immediately went to check her out and get some help. 

Rumpole: SANDI I need a notice of appearance. 

SANDI: Notice of Mortgage Foreclosures are found here (weblink to Disney World was then provided).


SANDI: Court hours for Probate court are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. 

R: SANDI email Judge Sayfie

SANDI: Judge Sepe has retired and there is no active email for him. Here is the judicial directory (weblink to a Dennys in Clifton, New Jersey). 

R: I need a summons and complaint for small claims court

SANDI: There are no current recipes for Clams Casino. 

From the media advisory: 

“We are excited to bring this artificial intelligence-based online chat feature to our website. This means our users don’t have to go searching through drop-down menus to find what they are looking for – they can just ask SANDI,” said Chief Judge Nushin G. Sayfie

Rumpole says: That's all well and good Judge, but SANDI thinks you're Judge Sepe and he's been dead a long time now.  

 Oh we see great things for SANDI. In fact we are so excited we dictated the last part of the blog post to SANDI and here is what SANDI understood: 

Rumpole: SANDI represents a new and exciting application of technology. 

SANDI: To erase your current filing, please press escape plus alternate. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022


UPDATE: The Hanzman order on lawyers not having to wear suits and ties which is setting the Internet ablaze is below. Also breaking news: Former Judge Jon Colby will be returning Ali-like to the ring/bench to help Judge H adjudicate the Surfside damages awards. And Judge Colby is, like many in this tragic case, donating his time to help get these cases closed and money into the hands of the families.  

We have long eschewed forays into Civil Law, feeling lengthy motions to compel answers to a fourth set of interrogatories were just not compelling (bad pun). 

But we are rethinking the matter after watching the video of a pretrial hearing in Detroit where a woman was suing a man after a bad first date. 

Scroll ahead to about a minute and you will see the whole hearing. 

The first issue is communication-good communication is the most important thing in a successful case. Thus the issue of "justiciable" versus "permissible" rears its head as our hero judge tries to patiently explain to the aggrieved plaintiff that her issue isn't justiciable in the court he sits in.  But she hears "permissible" (the dangers of pro se reputation) and they are off to the races, including a very long and contentious exchange over what is and what is not perjury. 

Query: How many of you robed readers would have tolerated the barrage of "are we done here?" queries from the plaintiff, who was being downright rude. The patience of this Michigan jurist - Herman Marble Jr., rivals that of even our newly sainted civil judge whose "don't let great stand in the way of good" saying is sweeping into the far reaches of the internet. 

No matters what happens in this case of the century, Judge Marble is our new breakout star of the summer of 2022. Seemingly unflappable, he handles a contentious plaintiff who he cannot mute on zoom, and an equally sippy clerk who chastises him for not understanding how zoom works And through it all Judge Marble doesn't lose his marbles (we couldn't resist- sorry).  Kudos btw to the judge for wearing a face shield in court, although he does take it off at some point. And isn't a messy desk a sign of a busy and happy judge? We think so.  Time for some pro hac vice into Detroit- we gotta get into some motions before our new favourite Judge. 

Meanwhile what about our defendant? This poor guy just wanted a nice night out. A pizza, maybe a glass of wine, a stroll down by the GM plant, perhaps some canoodling at the end. But what did he get for his erstwhile romantic efforts?  A summons and complaint- that's what he got. The dangers of dating in 2022- almost enough to make a Netflix night even more compelling. 

So here it is- the case that may finally drag Rumpole into the wilds of civil court- summary judgment, justiciable issues, transfers to different courts, blistering arguments over perjury- bring it on! We are ready. 

PS- Guess what guys? We checked and believe it or not, the plaintiff is still single and available.

Hanzman Order On No Suits and Ties

Order 7-21-2025 (1) by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Thursday, July 21, 2022


 Doing a little research into a complex issue as we head into the weekend, as is our wont. And we came across this impassioned defense of stare decisis and precedent and it bears repeating here: 

Stare decisis “promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.” Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 827, 111 S.Ct. 2597, 115 L.Ed.2d 720 (1991). Of course, it is also important to be right, especially on constitutional matters, where Congress cannot override our errors by ordinary legislation. But even in constitutional cases, a departure from precedent “demands special justification.” Arizona v. Rumsey, 467 U.S. 203, 212, 104 S.Ct. 2305, 81 L.Ed.2d 164 (1984). This means that something more than “ambiguous historical evidence” is required before we will “flatly overrule a number of major decisions of this Court.” Welch v. Texas Dept. of Highways and Public Transp., 483 U.S. 468, 479, 107 S.Ct. 2941, 97 L.Ed.2d 389 (1987). And the strength of the case for adhering to such decisions grows in proportion to their “antiquity.” Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778, 792, 129 S.Ct. 2079, 173 L.Ed.2d 955 (2009). Here, as noted, Gamble's historical arguments must overcome numerous “major decisions of this Court” spanning 170 years. In light of these factors, Gamble's historical evidence must, at a minimum, be better than middling.

Gamble v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 1960, 1969 (2019)

And who is the author of this strong defense of precedent? Why none other than Justice Alito. 

Hmmmm.....he has been in the news lately for something....can't put our finger on it.


 It is rare that a prosecutor is disbarred for misconduct. But in Massachusetts the Board Of Bar Overseers (there is nothing better than Milo O'Shea as the corrupt Judge in the great movie The Verdict telling Paul Newman that he was going to refer him to the Board Of Bar Overseers- we could watch it a hundred times) has recommended disbarment for former Assistant Attorney General Anne Kaczmarek for her coverup of a police chemist's misconduct in using the drugs he was supposed to be testing. Apparently Kaczmarek was prosecuting the chemist, but her primary goal was to help coverup the chemist's misconduct which affected thousands of criminal convictions. 

You can read about it here. 

HT to a long time reader who sent us the article. 

From The Verdict. Enjoy. 

Mr. Markus watches A Few Good Men before starting a trial. We watch The Verdict. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022


 Originally posted on July 19, 2019, the 50 year anniversary of what may be the high water mark of humanity and all we can accomplish, there is value in remembering how great we can be:

The fascinating part of the historic Apollo 11 landing on the moon (50 years ago today) is the handling of the 1202 and 1201 alarms during the decent of the Eagle to the lunar surface.

P63: Some Apollo-nerd stuff that you only get here: The Eagle's computer had three programs to run from the time it undocked to landing. The first was P63: which controlled Eagle from undocking while it was still in orbit,  to powered-descent -the landing. P63 controlled the attitude (pitch and yaw) of Eagle and ran the burn of the engine which took Eagle out of orbit and into a controlled descent to the lunar surface. PDI (powered-descent initiation) occurred about 500 kilometers east of the landing site and 12 minutes to landing. The first go-no-go from Houston after the go-no-go for undocking was for PDI. 

P64: When the Eagle was three minutes from landing and 7 kilometers from the site, the computer ran P64. The P64 program pitched the Eagle forward and gave Armstrong a view of the lunar surface so he could check for landmarks. At this point the computer is telling the astronauts and Houston where it intends to land. If you listen to the raw landing tapes, the guidance officer in Houston is indicating that they are headed for a spot longer down-range than anticipated. 

P66: When the Eagle is 600 meters from the landing site, Armstrong activates P66 in which he and the computer share the throttle while Armstrong alone controls the pitch and yaw. 
Somewhere along the way a switch was flipped powering on the rendezvous radar that was supposed to be off. The rendezvous radar began feeding more information to the computer than it was designed to handle at exactly the wrong time- during the dangerous descent phase. How Armstrong and NASA handled this critical error is the stuff legends are made of.

As PDI begins, Houston immediately loses signal and data from Eagle, prompting a call to Collins in Colombia to tell Aldrin to re-aim an antenna. Meanwhile Neil Armstrong has several issues to contend with, including no communication with the men who are supposed to guide him. 

As the Eagle descended Armstrong began to realize that the guidance computer was taking him farther down range then it was supposed to and was putting the Eagle into a crater. The Eagle has two guidance systems: PGNS (pings) is the main system, and AGS is the back-up. Both Houston and Aldrin  are monitoring both systems and comparing their data to see if it matches as the Eagle descends towards history and the Moon. 

As  P63 turns the Eagle around so that now it's Engine is facing the lunar surface, the landing radar and other radar (that's supposed to be off) both lock on to the lunar surface. The computer is overloaded with data, and now come the words that almost ended the mission: "1202...1202 alarm."  Eagle is 33,500 feet above the surface of the moon. 

In the simulator   Armstrong and Aldrin had practiced with several different scenarios, including the loss of various functions of the Eagle, wrong indicators, loss of communication, and the like. But in the thousands of hours of training, they had never encountered a 1202 alarm.

Here is what happened on the ground in Houston and their success showed why NASA was able to achieve the extraordinary moon landing:

Gene Kranz was the flight director, later responsible for the saying "failure is not an option". Kranz was the one who made the final decision to allow the Eagle to land. 
Jack Garman was an engineer and part of the team working on the computers and the landing guidance system of the Eagle. At a meeting several weeks before the landing,  Kranz told Garman to write down every possible alarm and the response to the alarm.
Steve Bales was the guidance officer who was one of the men responsible to answer Kranz during various "Go-No-Go" calls when Houston had to tell Armstrong if he could continue to land.
Astronaut Charlie Duke was "cap-com" the man responsible for speaking directly to Aldrin and Armstrong. 

Several seconds after the 1202 alarm, Armstrong having heard nothing from Houston, asked "give us a reading on that 1202 alarm."  When you listen to Armstrong, there is some uncertainty in his voice. He is about 30,000 feet above the surface of the moon and less than seven and half minutes from landing. He is looking for a place to land, watching his fuel, working on the high-gain antenna issue, and now an alarm that he does not recognize is going off which may cause the mission to be aborted. 

Meanwhile in Houston, when the alarm went off, Kranz was looking towards his guidance officer Bales or anyone else who knew what the alarm was. Nobody knew. There were blank stares all around as Krantz's landing team started scrambling though massive three-ring binders looking for what a 1202 alarm was. Eventually Krantz asked Bales and Bales called over to a back room where there were dozen of engineers One of them- Jack Garman - knew what the alarm meant.  

Apollo 11's computer's were rudimentary. The landing radars started giving the computer more data then it could handle. When this occurred the computer had a line of programing to tell it to prioritize its work and to trigger a 1202 alarm to let Houston and the Eagle know what it was doing. Essentially the computer was rebooting without shutting down. If the computer had shut down, Kranz would have ordered an abort. 

Garman reasoned that as long as the alarm didn't continually repeat, which would mean the computer was in a non-recoverable loop, that they were "go" on the alarm. Garman told Bales. Bales told Kranz. Kranz told Duke and Duke told Armstrong. 

There was another 1202 alarm and then a 1201 alarm at 27,000 feet above the surface. Aldrin tells Houston about why he thinks the alarm is occurring. Meanwhile,  Garman quickly told Bales that the 1201 alarm was the same type of alarm as the 1202 and that they were "go" on that. 

Armstrong never doubted what Duke was telling him. Kranz had faith in Bales and Bales knew Garman knew the landing computer software better than anyone. 

At about 9 minutes into the landing, and 5200 feet about the surface the computer switched to P64 and the program pitches Eagle over so that the attitude of the Eagle is more upright and it begins to descend in the same attitude that it will have upon landing. Armstrong is now looking at the surface so he can find a place to land.  Kranz quickly runs through a "go-no-go" for landing and Retro (the controller monitoring the engines), FIDO (flight dynamics), ECOM (electrical, environmental and consumables), Guidance, and the flight surgeon all give Kranz an enthusiastic "GO!" for landing which Charlie Duke relays to Aldrin and Armstrong. At 3,000 feet they get another 1201 alarm, but they are quickly told they are "go on that alarm" and the descent continues. In another minute, at 1300 feet they get another 1202 alarm, but they are still go to land. 

 At 600 feet the P64 program is steering the Eagle toward a sea of boulders and craters. Armstrong decided to switch to the P66 program and manually take control of Eagle. He began to use the thrusters to navigate the Eagle past a large crater and then looked for a relatively flat area to set his craft down on, all the while monitoring an ever dwindling fuel supply and a host of other issues. They are 300 feet from the surface and Aldrin tells Armstrong  that he is "pegged at horizontal velocity" meaning they are going forward at the top speed on the indicator. At 250 feet Armstrong is now slowing the forward velocity. He sees a landmark he recognizes: "Little West Crater" and he pilots Eagle just past it where he sees a relatively smooth surface to land. The forward velocity has slowed from 50 feet/second to 19 feet/second. At 175 feet they have 94 seconds to land or they will get a "fuel-bingo" call from Houston and will have to abort. 

The Eagle had one chance to land on the moon. If the landing was aborted, they activated the ascent engine, flew back to Michael Collins in Colombia, and headed back to earth having failed in their attempt to land. There were no second chances on this flight. 

At 100 feet they have 75 seconds to land. Armstrong is demonstrating why he was chosen for this mission- he is at the top of his game and pulling off the greatest landing in the history of aviation- and one of the most difficult and dangerous to boot. At 75 feet their velocity has slowed to six feet forward/second. At 60 feet Charlie Duke calls out "sixty seconds": they have a minute of fuel left to land. At 20 feet Charlie Duke calls out "thirty seconds". There is almost no fuel left to land. 

With seventeen seconds of fuel remaining Aldrin calls out "contact light": a 1.5 meter probe below Eagle has touched the surface.  

The team worked. The system worked, and Armstrong landed the Eagle with 17 seconds of fuel remaining. 

The first words spoken by a human being on another celestial body belonged to Buzz Aldrin: "Contact light. Ok. Engine stop. ACA out of descent. Mode control both auto descent engine command override off. Engine arm off. 413 is in.

Hardly memorable or historic words, but before Armstrong tells the world that from Tranquility Base "The Eagle has landed" Aldrin had a checklist he needed to run through to make sure the descent engines were shut down and the abort-ascent  engine couldn't be accidentally triggered. 

Charlie Duke responds "we copy you down Eagle".
Armstrong says "The Eagle has landed" and Duke responds that there were a bunch of guys about to turn blue but were breathing again. This is in response to the fact that with less than 30 seconds of fuel, the Eagle had not landed and everyone in mission control was holding their breath. 

A half a million people worked on some part of the Apollo program. But on July 20, 1969, it was Kranz, Steve Bales, and Jack Garman who gave the go ahead to Armstrong and Aldrin to continue the landing in the face of 1202 and 1201 alarms.

In these days of seemingly unsolvable problems- wars, global warming, plastic choking the ocean, no reservations at the Pickle Ball court for weeks,  the Apollo program and the (mostly men) of Apollo 11 remind is we as human beings can do great great things if we all work together for a common goal. 

(Although the 9 am Saturday spot on the Pickle Ball court is booked solid through the end of the year).

Monday, July 18, 2022


 Miami Herald Ace Reporter David Ovalle has a new article out about the "Name Game" judicial candidates play in Miami. 

Judge Blumstein caught continuing flack for wearing his Navy hat in campaign posters. He has been endorsed by the Village People (Below), but the 3rd DCA frowned on his infamous decision to not allow a 12-person jury in a first-degree murder case. The rules of criminal procedure are malleable, right? 

What caught our jaundiced eye was our current favourite "name change" judicial candidate- Teressa Maria Tylman Cervera -Jlo-Afllack-Tua, et. al. 

When asked about her trial experience- she is after all running against a well-regarded and highly experienced Circuit Court Judge (Lody Jean) who took the bench with significant jury trial experience- Ms. TMTC said, and we quote,  that she had "hundreds of hours" of evidentiary hearings "which is the equivalent of a trial."


Scene: The Oval Office: The President's Chief of Staff tells Joe Biden there is going to be another opening on the supreme court. 

Biden: Who do we have ready? 

COS: The usual suspects, but there is this lawyer in Miami. No trial experience, but she has "hundreds of hours" of evidentiary hearings.

Biden. OMG! How did we miss her? Did I hear you right? Hundreds of hours of evidentiary hearings? WOW!

Scene: Law Student interviewing for job with Kathy Fernandez-Rundle

KFR: Do you have any other questions?

Law Student: Well, actually yes. Will I be able to get experience in evidentiary hearings? Because um, like, I wanna be a judge, and we all know that's what it takes.

KFR: Well, you will get a lot of jury trial experience.

Law Student: Well, yeah, but like I want the evidentiary hearings experience because that's the ticket to the top.  

Rumpole: What kind of egotistical  [fill in pejorative curse word] thinks they should replace a well-regarded and experienced judge simply because they have hundreds of hours of experience in hearings? We may be called to try a case before this unqualified wannabe pretender. The trial will mean everything to our client. And something may happen, and Ms. HIJKLMNOP Call Me Whatever You Want As Long As You Call Me Judge  is going to tell US what to do based on what? Her vast experience as a trial lawyer? He sterling qualifications in misrepresenting who she is? A Lawyer who should appear as a Gecko for some insurance company advertisement?  We've spent almost forty years honing our craft as a trial lawyer. And all she can do is change her name. 

Why did Ms. TMTC challenge Judge Jean? Here are her own words: "This candidate has never been on a ballot."  That was all she could articulate in her vast experience as a litigator. 

But it gets worse: When The Herald asked Tylman Cevera to highlight a case she worked on (they obviously couldn't ask her to highlight a case she tried) she responded "Can I get back to you on that?"

Nothing better indicates if a candidate will be a great judge than preparation. To be fair, our hero then mentioned something about "a construction case' and "a contract case".  

Guess what Mr. President? That lawyer you are considering- besides the mind-blowing "hundreds of hours" of evidentiary hearings, she also has handled "a construction case" AND "a contract case." 

Doesn't get much better than that does it? 

There once was a lawyer so unqualified that when he appeared at a Cuban-American Bar Association judicial function to speak, more than half the room got up and turned their back on him. The same should be done to the candidate who has NO trial experience and doesn't care what you call her as long as in January you call her Judge. 

And now, coming at ya from 1979, in honor of Judge B and his campaign signs, the Village People and  IN THE NAVY 


 It was a hot and mostly quiet summer weekend. But there was some news. 

Mr. Markus's defense of accused killer Dr. Lawrence Rudolph continues in federal court this week. The Fugitive, it is not- but it's still a fascinating case. 

There is more spirit and verve in the REGJB today as your county court judges are back from a grueling week of judicial education. (See our last post. )

Opening statements are today in the Nicholas Cruz penalty phase in Broward- Cruz is the killer of 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Parkland, Florida. We may not know much, but we know there is no way he walks out of this proceeding without a death sentence, or 17 of them. A more difficult defense we cannot imagine. 

But if you want to know the really really big news, then hold on...because it's a whopper. 

Jennifer Afflick and Ben Lopez got married over the weekend in Las Vegas at the Little White Chapel! *

It took twenty years, but true love won out. 

*Yeah, we know we wrote their names wrong.

Saturday, July 16, 2022


 FDC and County Court Judges....that's what is on our mind. 

Your County Court Judges are back from a week in semi-tropical paradise, sipping Mai Tais and attending lectures on such topics as "The Defense Demanded Discovery...Now What?"    (the defense has demanded discovery, you should A) look at them in genuine puzzlement, as if you have never heard of the concept before; B) Shake your head in disgust and move to the next case; C) audibly mutter 'if that's the way you want to go on this one'...").  Their location was and is a secret for security reasons. Next up- your Circuit Court Judges hit the road for lectures on "Probate and You-having fun while banished"; "Salacious Secrets of the Civil Rules Of Procedure"; and "Why Rule 3's are for Chumps." 


From time to time we are forced to perambulate from the garage that also houses law firms, to FDC to see a client who wishes to retain us and has not yet been released. Things have changed. First, The Governmental Select Committee on Allowing FDC Forms to be Filled Out On Line, has issued its semi-annual report, indicating that the software protocol for filling out the forms has been reduced to thirty-six finalists. The Committee expects the issue to be resolved "no later than 2026." 

There are now NEW FORMS and new posters - all paid for with your tax dollars. 

The walls of FDC are now adorned with posters such as "Wash Your Hands" (in English and Spanish); "The Seven Signs OF Covid" (as surprising as this will be to you, the FDC poster says a cough, sore throat, fever and loss of sense of smell MAY be signs of Covid) and "Vaccinations Work!" ("honey what do you think about a covid-19 vaccine? I don't trust that Fauci guy, but I was in FDC the other day and they have a poster." "Well, if the Bureau Of Prisons said I should get a vaccine, that's good enough for me. They should know."). 

There is now a form denying you have Covid. It is as effective as those questions at the airport if someone else packed your bag, paid you money to take their bag, whether you have batteries that could explode, and whether a mysterious person of Middle Eastern descent gave you a box that has a radiation warning sign on it and asked for a favor. 

There is also a new form sly quizzing you on if you have Covid. 

"Do you feel sick?" "Do you have an unexplained fever?" "Do you have feelings of anxiety and dread?" (Gee, we just lived through a pandemic, there is a new strain even more infectious, Senator Joe Manchin just sealed the fate of the planet to overheat and kill all life on it because otherwise West Virginia Coal Miners won't make it....nah, I have no feelings of dread or anxiety." )

We put people on the Moon. We put Rovers on Mars. We cured Polio and invented the Silicon Chip which eventually led to the creation of Tinder. We can do great things, and yet the BOP spends money on useless forms and insipient posters and refuses to allow lawyers to fill out forms on line to schedule visits with clients ;  and  WHY, someone please tell us, in this age of Uber, do they need to know the Freaking Car We are driving? AND the license plate, just to allow us access to see our client.  And we know they don't really check, otherwise someone would want to know why consistently put on the form that we are driving a 1936 White Rolls Royce Phantom with the license plate 123ABC. 

We kid about the judges. We are all in favor of judicial education (and if you could see us fighting not to write more about WHY they need more education, you'd understand just how difficult writing this blog can be at times).

Enjoy your summer weekend.  Heat courtesy of Senator Manchin. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022


 Long awaited, much anticipated, the Florida Supreme Court (Moto "Undoing Liberal Precedent Since 2018") issued on July 14, 2022 its amendments to the rules of civil procedure (yawn), Florida Rules Of General Practice and Judicial Administration (first we've ever heard of these rules), Rules of Criminal Procedure, Probate Rules (read em before you need em), Rules of Traffic Court, Small Claims Rules and, last but not least, rules of appellate procedure (Rule 1: PCA's shall be issued in a majority of all criminal cases). 

What most readers of this blog want to know is whether they will have to appear in Hendry County, or Winterhaven,  Two Egg, Florida, in person, or can appear by zoom for a status conference (hint, if you're from Miami, check the air in those tires and change the oil). 

The Rule of Criminal Procedure has been amended to ALLOW judges to set zoom hearings. Broward immediately banned laptops from the Courthouse. Get the hint as to how this is going to go? 

Upon the court’s own motion or upon a party’s written request, rule 3.116 authorizes a judge to direct that communication technology may be used by one or more parties for pretrial conferences, but the defendant or defendant’s counsel must waive the defendant’s physical attendance at pretrial conferences pursuant to rules 3.180(a)(3) and 3.220(o)(1). And rule 3.116 authorizes the judge to allow the taking of testimony through communication technology if all parties consent and the defendant waives any otherwise applicable confrontation rights.

Practice tip- Baker Act hearings have to be done in person. Something to do with the Florida Constitution or something like that. 

Practice tip 2- if you want to take a depo by zoom, the subpoena has to say that, AND list the way to log on to zoom. Shocking, but they felt they needed to include it in the rules. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


 This was on a weekday. We are worried about our civil colleagues. 

DOM Murder trial in Colorado. 

Want updates on USA v. Dr Lawrence Rudolph, the fascinating African Safari murder case DOM and his firm are defending in Colorado? So do we. Googling it just gets news stories two days old. There must be a twitter feed following it. 

Monday, July 11, 2022


What do you make of this?  Judge ORF, well liked and regarded in the REGJB, drew serious opposition in this election cycle. He has every right to seek votes where he can legitimately get them. But ....is it just us? This is a blatantly political organization with a specific agenda. 

But is this "who's ox is gored?" 

Would we feel uneasy if a judicial candidate was speaking at the (fictitious) "Keep Miami Green" foundation that advocates the planting of more trees and less use of fossil fuels to combat global warming? 

It's not like Roe v. Wade is going to come before him. We think a higher court already addressed this issue. 

What say you? 


#BREAKING: Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts, up for re-election this year, was a featured speaker at the Christian Family Coalition’s June 28th “victory celebration” for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in Doral #BecauseMiami