Wednesday, August 31, 2022


 In a remarkable order, full of a long recounting of the remarkable results in the Surfside Tower collapse case in which at the outset Judge Hanzman noted that the building was insured for 48 million and the property was worth about 100 million - and the total recovery ended up being 1.2 billion- and it was obtained  within 18 months- Judge Hanzman REJECTED a fee request of 100 million comprising something called Lodestar that we are entirely unfamiliar with, but did approve legal fees of 65 million dollars. 

The order starts out with voluminous praise for the attorneys who took on the case being warned by the tough-talking judge that it was NOT going to be "business as usual" and they had better "BUCKLE UP" for the hard ride ahead. In Rumpole's world, effusive praise in an order almost always precedes the inevitable "but for the reasons stated herein the motion is denied." 

And that is what occurred. Sort off. The attorneys got more than they agreed to when they "buckled up", but less than what they asked for- even with the support of some expert who opined "show them the money!" Or something like that. 

It's a good order. A well-reasoned order. The fees represent 6.5% of the money recovered. More than a billion dollars went to the victims and their survivors. 

Well Done Judge Hanzman. Well Done indeed. 

Champlain Towers South - Order on Class Counsel's Motion for Attorney's Fees by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Tuesday, August 30, 2022



This notice was in our crowded email in box: 


Effective October 29, 2022, you will no longer receive a PDF document(s) attached to the E-service Notification of Electronic Filing (NEF). You will receive a link in the NEF to the document(s) submitted. That link will be available for two days (excluding weekends) after the filing is accepted by the Clerk.

FYI unlike the rest of the civilized world and Iran and North Korea, the Dade County Clerk's docket in criminal cases has NO REPEAT NO PDFS attached. 

No soup for you. No documents for you. 

However should you be charged in North Korea with defaming the Dear Leader, the charging documents are available in PDF format on their docket www.moreadvancedcourtsystemthanmiami.com 

Monday, August 29, 2022


 Churchill has been nipped!

 As a well-known anglophile, we are interested in all things WSC. Perhaps the most iconic image of the great man was taken by acclaimed portrait photographer Yousuf Karash, whose show of portraits of acclaimed figures was recently at UM and you could have caught Rumpole there if you were sharp. 

On December 30, 1941, as the war was going badly and Britan was barely hanging on, WSC visited Canada and addressed the Canadian Parliament. He was not prepared for the portrait and when told he had to sit for it, he glowered and told the young artist he had time for one shot. Karash, a young portrait photographer, was brash enough to tell the leader of the free world fighting fascism that he could not hold his beloved cigar. Churchill told him  to bugger off in so many words. Karash snatched the stogie and ran back to his camera and snaped the picture of Churchill glowering at him and the rest is history.   

The signed original hung in the landmark Fairmont hotel in Ottawa until recently, when it was discovered the portrait hanging was the not the original. It turns out from examining selfies on social media that the theft occurred around the end of 2021. 


We are going back to the Moon. In 2025 we are going to land three astronauts on the moon. One will be a woman. One will be a person of color. The third will not be Rumpole. Not only are we going back to the Moon, but we are also going to land at the south pole, where ice and other valuable minerals are believed to exist. The poles of the Moon exits in perpetual darkness which makes landing and staying there much more difficult. But the existence of ice means water and hydrogen, which means fuel for a trip to Mars. The poles are the valuable parts of the Moon, which means China wants to establish a presence there as much as the US. Putin has threatened to invade once he's done with Ukraine. The poles of the Moon are the Big Kahuna in NASA speak. 

And today- Monday- the SLS rocket that will soon take humans to the Moon is being launched and tested in the Artemis 1 mission. The rocket will be launched and then within a day NASA will say something that it has not said for 50 years "GO FOR TLI" which all NASA nerds means "go for trans-lunar insertion" and Artemis will leave earth orbit for the Moon where it will spend six weeks in orbit. 

The most important test will be the heat shields on the Orion capsule, made of new material never tested in an actual re-entry, will be tested as the capsule comes into the atmosphere at 32 Mach and reaches temperatures of 5000 degrees Fahrenheit, or close to the temperature in Las Vegas around noon when we were there the other day. The re-entry with humans aboard in the future will not be as fast and as hot- but NASA is pushing the edge of the envelope to make sure the rocket and capsule are safe. 

Upon a safe launch and return, NASA in 2024 will send a crew to orbit the Moon, much like the famed Apollo 8 mission that saved 1968. We have written before about Apollo 8, and our view of the historic nature of the mission. It was the very first time humans had left earth orbit for inter-space travel- the future of our race. And it was the very first time humans orbited another celestial body. And it generated the most iconic picture of the Apollo era- Earth Rising. 

Things in space are about to get exciting again. It's about time. We are really excited about this. 

Now what about that "Alice" quote? A bunch of 30 something judges are sitting around their chambers wondering about that. That's because they led deprived childhoods. They were never exposed to the Great One- Jackie Gleeson. Here's a clip.  Of course, today it would never be allowed on television. It is not politically correct. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022


Dear Judge Kolokoff, 

"The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer." Teddy Roosevelt. 

You did not campaign with a sneer. You campaigned with a smile, with positive statements about the court system, and your love for the system you work for, and the people whom you serve so very well. 

The grace and dignity you showed in a tight race did not go unnoticed by all who watched your race- lawyers, your colleagues, and the public. 

You may have lost the race, but you won the admiration of those who count- and that is what will serve you well as you move forward. 

We do not know what the future holds for you. We do not need to tell you that you can recover from this and get back on the bench. That decision is yours. What we can tell you is that you will have the strong support of all who matter should you try to get back on the bench. If that is your choice, all of Miami will be better for it. 

No one will fault you for deciding that it is not worth it to become a judge again, when the politics of Miami in general, and Judicial races in particular, are so terribly skewered from merit and achievement, and towards a certain type of last name. 

There are no better words for you, then these magnificent ones from Teddy Roosevelt: 

It is not the critic who counts, who points out how the strong man stumbles. Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The Credit belongs to the Man who is actually in the arena.  Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly. Who errs. Who comes short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds. Who knows great enthusiasms. The great devotions. Who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither know victory nor defeat.  

You have an admirer Judge Kolokoff.  We are just one of many. And we wish you well. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2022




YOUR WINNERS ....... (Results below)

With a turnout of 19%, the voters of Miami-Dade County returned four incumbent judges to the bench: Judge Lody Jean, Judge Robert Watson, Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts, and Judge Fred Seraphin.

Three new judges were elected tonight including: bankruptcy attorney Ariel Rodriguez beat back Incumbent Judge Mark Blumstein; insurance defense attorney Lissette De La Rosa ousted Incumbent Judge Jeffrey Kolokoff; and Assistant State Attorney Alicia Garcia Priovolos bested Incumbent Judge Scott Janowitz.

Some observations:

It was satisfying to see that candidates Teressa Tylman (Cervera) and Renier Diaz de la Portilla (DLP) got their just desserts. Both of them were crushed by their opponents.  Tylman was called out by this Blog for playing the Name Game while DLP should be ashamed for the hit pieces that were mailed out by a PAC directly associated with him. We suggest that DLP resign his membership from FACDL-Miami and go back to law school and retake Crim Law and Con Law and re-learn the term "presumption of innocence".  DLP really needs to consider not running for office anymore. You are really bad at it having lost your last four campaigns.

Judge Lody Jean is off to a great start in her new career as a Circuit Court Judge and we wish her the best in her six year term.

Judge Fred Seraphin has regularly been criticized on this Blog for his judicial demeanor. He should learn from his mistakes and be better for what likely will be his last six year term on the bench.

Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts beat a tough opponent in former Judge Jason Bloch. This was the closest contest of the evening with ORF winning by a mere 1,862 votes. This is Bloch's second loss in a Circuit Court race. ORF should think about some of the extreme positions that the Christian Family Coalition (CFC) stands for before he goes after their endorsement again. We take Judge Rodriguez-Fonts at his word that his personal beliefs do not enter into his decision making from the bench.

Having an Hispanic name does not guarantee one a victory - Judge Watson was returned to the bench over his opponent Brenda Guerrero. Judge Jean beat a Cervera; Judge Seraphin beat DLP. 

One could argue that having an Hispanic name didn't hurt Ariel Rodriguez as he sent Judge Blumstein off the bench. Of course the Judge did not help his cause by regularly violating the Dept of Defense rules when he plastered Miami-Dade County with billboards dressed in his Navy dress blues and Navy hat.

It also didn't hurt Lissette De La Rosa. She beat Incumbent Judge Jeffrey Kolokoff in a very tight race winning by only 4,600 votes. We don't know much about Judge-Elect De La Rosa; by all accounts Judge Kolokoff had gotten nothing but very good reviews during his short time on the bench.

As for Judge Janowitz, well, he ran into a buzz-saw. Alicia Garcia Priovolos, a Miami-Dade ASA, was well financed, by all accounts she ran a great campaign, and she was highly qualified. She was the biggest winner of the night winning her race by 20 points.

It is clear that the way we used to see judicial campaigns run, last century, are long past. This is 2022 and there is little doubt that even judicial campaigns, despite the Judicial Canons, will not stop candidates from pulling out all the stops, going right up to the line, and sometimes crossing it, in their attempts to win a seat on the bench.

You can be sure of one thing. We will be there every step of the way. Calling out candidates when we feel it is appropriate.  Digging into candidates backgrounds and educating our readers along the way.

We are Captain Justice for the Justice Building Blog.



Group  3 

Lody Jean (I)                -   57%
Teressa Maria Cervera -   43%

Group  20

Robert T. Watson (I)     -   53%
Brenda Guerrero           -   47%

Group  34

Mark Blumstein (I)       -   49% (127,520)
Ariel Rodriguez            -   51%  (135,238)

Group  52

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts (I) -    50% -- (132,167)
Jason Bloch                        -   50% -- (130,305)


Group 05

Fred Seraphin (I)                -   56%
Renier Diaz de la Portilla   -   44%

Group 19     

Jeffrey M. Kolokoff (I)      -   49% -- (127,397)
Lissette De La Rosa           -   51% -- (131,995)

Group 42    

Scott Janowitz (I)               -   40%
Alicia Garcia Priovolos      -   60%

There are a total of seven contested judicial races on the ballot in Miami-Dade County, four in Circuit Court and three more in County Court. Qualifying day was on April 29 and for the past 116 days, the candidates have been criss-crossing the county attending Judicial Candidate Forums (all except for Tessa Tylman) and making speeches at these Forums (all except for Tessa Tylman), and promoting their sense of justice, promising to enforce the language contained in the Constitution and the laws of the State of Florida (all except for Renier Diaz de la Portilla).

There have been numerous JQC and Bar Complaints filed against Ms. Tylman, Mr. Diaz de la Portilla, and Judge Blumstein, for their campaign tactics; a scathing letter was written from the Watson camp to his opponent Brenda Guerrero over her campaign literature; a brouhaha developed between Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts and his opponent Jason Bloch - Rodriguez-Fonts for his appearance at a Christian Family Coalition (CFC) breakfast and Bloch for a text message accusing his opponent of certain things.  There have been accusations of playing The Name Game, with candidate Teressa Maria Tylman changing her name to Cervera, immediately before filing to run for judge; further accusations of Tylman and Diaz de la Cruz targeting the only two Haitian judges on the bench; a nasty hit piece was sent out by a PAC associated with Diaz de la Portilla which included publishing Judge Seraphin’s personal cell phone number and demanding Seraphin release an Arrest report from 40 years ago for charges the Diaz de la Portilla camp knew were never filed; and the endless list seemingly goes on and on.

Of course, The Captain and Rumpole covered it all right here on the award winning Justice Building Blog, breaking several stories before even the Miami Herald, Daily Business Review, and other threads, ran the stories.

So, now it’s up to the voters, who are hopefully just a bit more educated than they were on April 29. And, after the winners are declared tonight, it will be up to The Florida Bar and the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) to sort through the allegedly multiple violations of Bar Rules and Judicial Canons and to determine if there is probable cause to proceed with charges against any of the candidates over the complaints that were filed against them.

Here are the contests to be decided tonight:


Group  3 

Lody Jean (I)
Teressa Maria Cervera

Group  20

Robert T. Watson (I)
Brenda Guerrero

Group  34

Mark Blumstein (I)
Ariel Rodriguez

Group  52

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts (I)
Jason Bloch


Group 05

Fred Seraphin (I)
Renier Diaz de la Portilla

Group 19     

Jeffrey M. Kolokoff (I)
Lissette De La Rosa 

Group 42    

Scott Janowitz (I)
Alicia Garcia Priovolos

A reminder that, in County Court Group 07, the seat where Judge Edward Newman is retiring, only one candidate filed in that Group, Marcus R. Bach Armas, meaning that he was elected unopposed and he will take his seat in January of 2023.



 Your Miami-Dade County Court Judge Elijah Levitt is resigning from the bench at the end of September. The Coral Gables courthouse will never be the same. 

The reason? In our opinion PURE LUNANCY. In this great, big wonderful world, of all the places on earth one could live, from Montpellier, France to Montpellier, Vermont- from Berlin to Bombay- from Newcastle, UK, to Newark, New Jersey, to go to...it really turns our stomach to even write this- Judge Levitt wants to call Broward County home!  It's madness! Don't jump! Life is worth living. Nothing is worth that hell with the 954 area code. 

"How was your day dear?"

"Just peachy. I went to the courthouse where no one is smiling, everyone is smug about their own little nefarious cabals and clicks, and judges do bizarre  things like lock the doors at 9 am, and had a great time. You know, that courthouse where during the week of Christmas a few years back the JA refused to set an emergency motion for bond on the calendar for a man dying of HIV. That wonderful place where they intentionally call Miami lawyers last." 

And yet, our fair judge is leaving the friendly confines of The City Beautiful (as Coral Gables wants to be known) for Browierd. Well, to each their own. Some people even root for the Oakland As. Some people watch Kardashian TV.   Some people decide to practice civil law. And some people move to Broward. 

Word has it that the judge wants to pull a "Lauren Levy Miller" named in honor of the Miami Judge in the 90s who resigned the circuit bench for love and moved to Naples, and lo and behold got an appointment back to circuit court.  (We have an institutional knowledge of our court system that is quite remarkable, if we do say so ourselves). The County Switch (the LLM) is more  difficult than the  Miami Judge who resigned in the early 80's, went to Africa, it didn't work out, returned and got re-appointed. 

It's not as difficult as "The Switch" as exemplified below.  What is harder? The Roommate Switch or the  Judicial County Switch? You weigh in. 

Monday, August 22, 2022


 As the late great  Judge Ed Cowart would say about the FACDL  "Bless their soul."

They are catching up and, bless their soul, want to be relevant. 

This weekend they issued two very relevant press releases. First, noting the shocking crimes the President is accused of, including the Watergate break-in, they called on President Nixon to resign. Well done. A bit late- but well done. 

The FACDL also, late to the party, weighed in on everyone's favourite totalitarian judicial candidate Renier Diaz  De La I DON'T BELIEVE IN THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE Portilla. 

As Bruce Willis said in Die Hard: "Welcome to the party, Pal." 

Better late than never. We mean, Nixon has to go, right?

Statement by the FACDL-Miami Board of Directors by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

QUERRY: Let's assume this two-bit politico wins. Where does Judge Sayfie stick him? Bond hearings? Nope- everyone is guilty and won't get a bond. And speaking of bond hearings, boy is there a bruhaha brewing between our chief judge and our SAO over revamping bond hearings. Talk about your NASTY emails....coming real soon on the blog. Back to Renier I won't follow the law and will do anything to win, so where does he go? Civil won't take him- the big firms won't let someone with his legal provenance in their milieu. DV? Criminal. Can't have that. Seems like the stepping stone to the US Supreme Court is the only place- Hialeah Branch Civil!  (And our apologies to the robed readers laboring away in Hialeah civil- you're doing the lord's work and we do not mean to demean you. But NS has to dump his butt somewhere. 
We are sure NS would send him to the Crimea branch court if she could, but with the whole Putin/Ukraine thing, that's iffy at best.)

Saturday, August 20, 2022


 Good Saturday morning. This will be our weekend post. 

There is a whiff of fall in these late summer mornings. Not in fetid and sweltering Miami, but here in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, as we enjoy a mug of Unrivaled Boot Track Java to start our day.  We have some random thoughts. 

The Lexicographic bible - Book of Saint Albans- calls a group lawyers "an eloquence of lawyers". The book was clearly written before the current population of our profession. But we are thinking of groups of lawyers because you may see new ones, wandering wide-eyed through the REGJB, stiff-fitting new suits and professional outfits, glancing at notes typed on iPhones, looking lost while trying to find "courtroom four hyphen three" or "judge deelayoh" or even worse, being told to find Judge Morphonious's courtroom for a meeting by some older prank playing colleague. 

We speak of the new class of PDs and ASAs. Welcome! We say. Bienvenidos!  More on this soon. 

Random Rumpole. 

The Guardians is  dumb name for the Cleveland baseball team. We acknowledge the prior name was offensive to Native Americans and don't suggest to going back to that. But like the Washington Commanders Football team, both new names are complete whiffs. (That's twice we've used the word "whiff" in a post. Has to be a record). 

How about "Advise and Consent" for the DC gridders? "It's third and four for Advise and Consent. They are 6 for 8 on third downs so far..."  Or even better ....The Filibusters! Something. Anything. 

Fantasy Football is sold out! With everyone from last year back for a second run, there is no more room in our famed REJGB league, run by no nonsense commissioner "Iron Hand De la Over".  No Rumpolian 16 points for punts over 45 yards like in years gone by. A strict constructionist he, our commissioner is a PPR conservative. 

If enough people send us emails and cajole us- at least 8- we will form a second league. 

You can however enroll for the greatest ride of your football Sundays- Rumpole's  award winning, earth shaking, brief writing, cookie baking, leaf raking,  viagra taking..... E Street Band Survivor Pool. 

Just send an email to FBpool12@gmail.com confirming whether you believe judges should abide by the presumption of innocence and you are in. Make one pick of one team every week.  That is all it takes to be an REGIB Champion. Last year's Champion Feet of Clay Kaeiser saw a 3000% increase in his social media following as he ascended to the top and he is now rumored to be an IG influencer. Who doesn't want to know what socks a Survivor Pool Champion wears? 


There is a political chess match taking place across the country. Upset that we are a country of immigrants and he lives in a border state, TX Gov Abbott (Motto: "Welcome to Texas, now y'all skedaddle and leave") is busing immigrants to DC and NYC. 

And according to the NY Times here, New York is welcoming the immigrants with open arms. NYC's  Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs  meets each bus with open arms, food, clothing, toys for children,  and free hotel room housing as immigrants are given a chance to get their feet under them and begin the important process of assimilation. 

Bravo NYC. We can  cite Emma Lazarus' poem on the Statute of Liberty, but Governor Abbott and his Texans would dismiss is as just "some ramblings from another Central American Migrant....".   Or as they like to say "We don read here un Texas, we do...an we speak darn great English as wells  as y'alls Yankees.

Double Bravo NYC. You called their buff. We'll take NYC over Texas any day (but sorry NYC delis, Texas has you beat in brisket.) 

Enjoy your summer weekend. We are going for a hike. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022


 As reported earlier in the week Cesar "Echy" Echaverry, a Miami Dade Detective was murdered in the line of duty working in a Robbery Intervention Detail. 

This is tragic and it serves us all well to remember that every day law enforcement officers go to work with the understanding that they may never return to their families. 

We will only post comments in memory of this officer. 

Detective Echaverry was 29 years old. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022




We do our best to keep it light on this Blog, while regularly discussing important issues that affect our criminal justice family.

But, today, a family, and a police department mourn the loss of a brave young police detective, Cesar "Echy" Echaverry. Detective Echaverry was 29 years old when he was shot while on duty Monday night working his job as a Robbery Intervention Detail (RID) Detective. While he bravely fought for his life, his body surrendered and he passed away tonight.

All of the police officers of our community go out to work each day, kiss their loved ones, spouses, children, and then are prepared to take a bullet for us. To make our community safer. Let us never forget the sacrifices they make for us to protect our safety and security.

May God bless Detective Echaverry and may his family gather strength from the prayers of the citizens of our community.

CAP .......



In her latest desperate move, Tess Tylman is sending text messages to voters phones that include a photo of Governor DeSantis. Next to the Governor's photo are the words stamped in bright red VOIE #90 (a reference to Tylman's location on the ballot).  This text violates several Judicial Canons including using Desantis' image as if he is endorsing the candidate and using the Governor's image when DeSantis is also running in the same election and on the same ballot.  If by chance Tylman somehow gets more votes than her opponent, Judge Lody Jean, The Captain predicts that it will be a short rein on the bench for Ms. Tylman when the Florida Supreme Court removes her from office.

In other news, we can't help but "like" several of the Comments that have appeared over the past few days in the Justice Building Blog (JBB).  Thanks mom and dad for the following:

Captain killing it this election year with his multiple stories on the candidates. Rumpole and Captain thank you for the public service you are providing. Thursday, August 11, 2022 10:51:00 PM

It is true. This coverage blows away the herald. They should just link to this site and call it a day.  Friday, August 12, 2022 7:09:00 AM

Cap, I'm loving all this campaign info! Great job.  Saturday, August 13, 2022 11:32:00 AM

That’s a pretty nice investigation! Sunday, August 14, 2022 8:29:00 AM

In case you have missed the coverage, we have been quoted and been provided attribution several times over the past month in the Daily Business Review, the Miami Herald, the Florida Bulldog, among other threads.  Yesterday, THE DBR did a follow up to our story called: GET OUT THE HANDCUFFS ??? HAVE THE DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA BROTHERS BROKEN THE LAW ??? that can be found here.

In the DBR story, reporter Michael Adam Mora (who contacted me directly) wrote a story called: 'This Is Gutter Politics': Ethics Question Raised in Miami-Dade Race Between Judge Fred Seraphin and Renier Diaz de la Portilla. Mora writes: 

"Ethics experts say it could become problematic if someone could prove to the Florida Supreme Court or the Judicial Qualifications Commission that Renier Diaz de la Portilla, a partner at Diaz de la Portilla Lawyers in Miami, was aware of the distribution of certain campaign materials in the judicial race from the PAC that supports his brother, Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla."

Mora went on to say:

"But when the Justice Building Blog published the news Saturday of the alleged criminal implications, Renier Diaz de la Portilla claimed in an email that the blog is “conducting a nasty third-party campaign against me with what I am told is my opponent’s full knowledge and consent.”***

Our colleague Brian Tannebaum was quoted in the story saying: “This is gutter politics,” said Tannebaum, who is not involved in the Group 5 race. “This is exactly the type of conduct that causes the Florida Supreme Court to remove a judge, and in the Santino case they made that clear.” (Tannebaum was referring to one of the two Florida Supreme Court cases we cited in our story). 

Mora went on to say: "Tannebaum said that whether the release of the phone number could lead to Renier Diaz de la Portilla or his brother facing a first-degree misdemeanor, as the anonymous blogger claimed (in the Justice Building Blog), is an academic argument, since one could argue the PAC—a non-governmental entity—disclosed the number in the mailer. Regardless, “If you go down the list,” there are allegedly multiple violations of bar rules and judicial canons."

***In response to Diaz de la Portilla's allegations that his opponent (Judge Seraphin) has full knowledge and provided consent for our posts, we just had to laugh out loud (LOL). Judge Seraphin may read the Blog and would therefore have knowledge as to what we have written. We can assure you that we have not contacted Judge Seraphin and asked for his permission or blessing to post what we have written.


A debate broke out in the Comments section of the Blog last week about whether we should continue with the election of judges, or turn to the appointment system (the one used for open seats, and appointments to the appellate courts and Florida Supreme Court).

One Commenter stated:

"651 what bad or extreme appointments has Desantis made in our trial courts? None."  Thursday, August 11, 2022 8:39:00 AM

Let me respond to 8:39 AM by answering his question with a question. Governor DeSantis claims that diversity is of his highest priority when it comes to the appointment of judges. My question is - is he being honest with the citizens of the State of Florida when he makes that statement; is he being honest with himself?

Between January of 2019 when DeSantis was sworn into office and August of 2022, DeSantis has made a total of 191 judicial appointments. Of those 191 appointments, here are the "diverse" numbers he speaks of:

A total of 123 of those judicial appointments were from a group whose resumes included the previous jobs of ASA’s, AUSA’s, and/or AAG’s. Of the 123, a total of 72 of those appointments were pulled directly from one of those three offices. Can you guess how many APDs/FAPDs were appointed directly out of their offices - TWO, THAT’S RIGHT TWO, VERSUS 72. Federal Assistant PD Ayana Harris was appointed to the Miami-Dade County Court in December of 2019. Assistant PD Barry Dickson was appointed to the Escambia County Court in September of 2020.

The answer to my question, if you are being honest with yourself, is NO. DeSantis’ appointments have been anything but diverse.  


Monday, August 15, 2022




County Court Group 19

Judge Jeffrey Kolokoff vs. Lissette De La Rosa

Jeffrey M. Kolokoff (I)

He has been a member of The Florida Bar for 15 years. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. DeSantis in April of 2020 and this is his first election. Prior to taking the bench he was an ASA for more than six years in Miami-Dade County and he then worked for the law firm of Beighley, Myrick. His campaign web site can be found here.

Judge Kolokoff has a net worth of $2,182,366.  His annual salary as a County Court Judge is $156,377. He has raised $85,210 from a total of 171 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $325,000. His campaign has spent $164,948 to date.

Lissette De La Rosa 

She has been a member of The Florida Bar for 20 years. According to her campaign web site, she has litigated insurance cases for both the defense and the plaintiff during her career. She appears to have previously worked in the area of Estates and Trusts in the Tampa area. She is currently employed by a Clearwater property insurance company, Heritage Property & Casualty, in their Sunrise office. Her campaign web site can be found here.

Attorney De La Rosa has a net worth of $543,576. Her annual salary with Heritage Py. & Casualty is $165,979. She has raised $86,135 from a total of 124 contributors.  She has not loaned her campaign any money. Her campaign has Expenditures in the amount of $36,174.

County Court Group 42

Judge Scott Janowitz vs. Alicia Garcia Priovolos

Scott Janowitz (I)

He has been a member of The Florida Bar for 16 years. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. DeSantis in April of 2020 and this is his first election. Prior to taking the bench he was an ASA in Broward County and he then worked for a few law firms including the law firm of Geyer, Fuxa. He finally opened his own law firm and he focused his practice on insurance litigation and criminal defense. His campaign web site can be found here.

Judge Janowitz has a net worth of $425,000. His annual salary as a County Court Judge is $156,377. He has raised $53,638 from a total of 138 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $22,000. His campaign has spent $62,645 to date.

Alicia Garcia Priovolos

She has been a member of The Florida Bar for 16 years, all of that time as an ASA in Miami-Dade County. She prosecuted cases involving murder, sexual assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, organized crime, and human trafficking. She was named Director of the Human Trafficking Unit at the State Attorney's Office. She is married to former ASA and current criminal defense attorney John Priovolos. Her campaign web site can be found here.

Attorney Priovolos has a net worth of $1,816,344. Her annual salary as an ASA is $94,890. She has raised $136,871 from a total of 277 contributors.  She has loaned her campaign $50,000. Campaign expenditures to date total $146,825.


The Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) asked their members to vote whether the candidates were Exceptionally Qualified, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.  Judge Kolokoff’s scores were 35%, 31%, and 4% while his opponent attorney De La Rosa scored out at 5%, 20%, and 27%.  Judge Janowitz' scores were 44%, 24%, and 6%. His opponent, attorney Priovolos scored 31%, 26%, and 19%.

The Miami-Dade Bar (MDB) polls asked their voters to weigh in on which candidate was the Most Qualified. Judge Kolokoff blew away his opponent 74% to 26%. In the second race, it was much closer with Judge Janowitz outscoring Priovolos 57% to 43%.

The Miami Herald Editorial Board weighed in with their recommendations. In Group 19, they stated: “Though he has only been on the bench for a little over two years, we believe Kolokoff’s experience makes him the best qualified in this race. The Herald recommends JEFFREY KOLOKOFF."  

In Group 42, the Herald went in a totally different direction.  The Editorial Board stated: “Janowitz and Garcia Priovolos are both fine choices for county judge. As the incumbent, Janowitz has acquired institutional knowledge, currently presiding over insurance, eviction, small claims and personal debt cases. But Garcia Priovolos’ resume and engagement in the community tip the scale in her favor. County judges aren’t just court officers, but also stakeholders in the community. Since 2018, she says she has given more than 30 presentations to raise awareness about human trafficking to different organizations. “One thing that I have been very active in throughout my entire career is really going out to the community and speaking to people, educating, and that’s the one thing that I would like to continue doing especially as a judge,” Garcia Priovolos told the Herald Editorial Board. The Herald Editorial Board recommends ALICIA GARCIA PRIOVOLOS”.

I will not make any predictions in these two races, but I will say that candidate Alicia Priovolos has a very good chance of winning. A look at the names of her 277 contributors shows a wide cross-section of the legal community has written checks to her campaign. A large amount of well respected criminal defense attorneys are part of that list.  Priovolos has twice as many contributors as the Incumbent Judge Janowitz and she has raised 250% more money than her opponent.

We invite our readers to let us know about their interactions in court before Judge Kolokoff and Judge Janowitz and any cases they may have litigated against challengers Lissette De La Rosa and Alicia Priovolos.


Saturday, August 13, 2022



On July 27, 2022, we first called out Renier Diaz de la Portilla in our Blog Post entitled: "SHAME ON YOU RENIER DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA". We followed up that story on August 9, 2022 with our post: "RENIER DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA - YOU ARE OUT OF ORDER"


Did judicial candidate Renier Diaz de la Portilla commit a crime?  Did his brother, City of Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla commit a crime?


County Court Group 5 pits incumbent Judge Fred Seraphin versus  attorney Renier Diaz de la Portilla.  In late July, a campaign mailer arrived at the homes of voters throughout Miami-Dade County. The mailer was sent by a Political Action Committee (PAC) named Proven Leadership For Miami-Dade County. That campaign mailer was an attack ad against Judge Seraphin. In the mailer, the language included Judge Seraphin’s CELL PHONE NUMBER.  The flyer stated in pertinent part:


Proven Leadership For Miami-Dade County is a registered PAC formed under the laws of the State of Florida, Department of State, and founded on April 18, 2018. The candidate it was formed to support is current City of Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla; (at the time the PAC was formed he was a candidate for District 5).

On May 31, 2022, the PAC donated $1,000 to the Renier Diaz de la Portilla Judicial Campaign.

On July 21, 2022, just a few days before the mailer was sent out, the PAC disclosed an Expenditure in the amount of $10,400 payable to the United States Postmaster.

On July 22, 2022,the PAC disclosed an Expenditure in the additional amount of $9,211 payable to the United States Postmaster.

And this is huge ....

On July 22, 2022, the PAC disclosed an Expenditure in the additional amount of $10,000 CASH as a Political Contribution to ... wait for it ...Local Leadership For Miami-Dade County, a State of Florida, Department of State, officially registered PAC. That PAC was formed on June 1, 2020, to support then Miami-Dade Commission candidate Renier Diaz de la Portilla.

As an aside, on August 1, 2022, the Department of State sent a letter to the Renier Diaz de la Portilla PAC advising them that they were investigating a violation of Florida law in that PACs are not permitted to donate nor accept CASH donations exceeding $50. They have asked the PAC for an explanation with a deadline of seven (7) days from receipt of the letter. As of today, no response has been filed by the Renier Diaz de la Portilla PAC.



Florida Statute 119.071 (4) (d) (2) (e), General exemptions from inspection or copying of public records.—


(d)1. For purposes of this paragraph, the term:

2. (e). The home addresses, dates of birth, and telephone numbers of current or former justices of the Supreme Court, district court of appeal judges, circuit court judges, and county court judges; the names, home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and places of employment of the spouses and children of current or former justices and judges; and the names and locations of schools and day care facilities attended by the children of current or former justices and judges are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

Florida Statute 119.10, Violation of chapter; penalties.

(2) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates:

(a) Any of the provisions of this chapter commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

So, returning to our Query: Has either or both Renier and Alex Diaz de la Portilla committed a Misdemeanor of the First Degree when they willfully and knowingly were responsible for sending out a hit piece against Judge Seraphin that included Judge Seraphin’s cell phone number?

This is a Criminal Defense Blog, so let’s hear from our criminal defense attorneys.


We also turned to local attorney JC Planas and asked him the same question. Planas has already filed Bar complaints and JQC complaints against candidates Reiner Diaz de la Portilla, Teressa Tylman (Cervera), and Mark Blumstein.  Planas has been one of the go to attorneys in Florida when it comes to elections, candidates, and campaigns. Here is what JC had to say:

“Hey Cap: 

The releasing of the number is definitely a crime.  Ironically, even though everyone seems to call this Alex’s PC, the expenditures indicate its under Renier’s control.  The Portillas are notorious for using campaign funds for private expenses.  As just one example, Renier has been pumping gas at the same station as per the reports and alternates between paying for gas from the PC and his campaign card.  Because he is using PC for these expenses, we can prove he is in control of the PC and thus he released the number. 

I will be contacting Tim Vandergiessen* on this as well."

Juan-Carlos Planas

*Tim Vandergiessen is Chief of the Public Corruption Unit at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.


Thursday, August 11, 2022





UPDATED BELOW. One of our loyal readers took photos of several signs around town all showing Blumstein in his Navy uniform. One of those signs is shown below.

Circuit Court Group 34

Judge Mark Blumstein vs. Ariel Rodriguez

Mark Blumstein (I)

Judge Blumstein ran for the Circuit Court bench in 2016 in a four way contest. In the primary he came in first ahead of attorney Luis Perez-Medina. In the general election he defeated Perez-Medina 51% to 49%. This will be his second election campaign.

Judge Blumstein has a Net Worth of $2,877,273.  His salary according to his financial disclosure is $132,384; (this must be a typo as a Circuit Court Judge is paid roughly $165,000). Blumstein also reports an additional $77,300 in rental property income. He has raised $199,571 from a total of 397 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $60,000. He has so far spent a total of $88,111 on his campaign.

Ariel Rodriguez

He has been a Member of The Florida Bar for 23 years. He is employed by DOJ, Office of the US Trustee as a trial attorney in Bankruptcy court.

Attorney Rodriguez has a Net Worth of $1,606,772. He is paid $156,854 by the U.S.D.O.J. He has raised $59,651 from a total of 206 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $17,233. He has spent a total of $56,772 on his campaign to date.

The “big” controversy in this campaign is similar to the one in 2016 when then candidate Blumstein plastered campaign posters all over the County with photographs of him dressed in his Navy uniform; (Blumstein spent 20 years in the Navy as a JAG). According to several of our readers this violates the Department of Defense rules as it could lead a voter to assume that the Navy was endorsing Blumstein.  According to the DOD, the Defense Department directive bans the use of an image in uniform as a “primary graphic representation” on a campaign ad.

In 2022, some of our readers have indicated that Blumstein continues to violate that same DOD directive. We checked the Blumstein For Judge web site and there does not appear to be any photos of Blumstein in a navy uniform (or hat). We also checked his Facebook Blumstein for Judge page and could not find anything. We did locate one video Blumstein is running where he does discuss his past including his service to our country. The video ends with a screen shot of Blumstein wearing his Navy hat. (See the video here).  We also found an announcement for a radio show Blumstein participated in from June 12. The announcement includes a photo of Blumstein, in his Navy hat (and it appears, his uniform).

In contrast, Ariel Rodriguez's extra-curricular activities include his being a high school and college football referee for almost a decade. And a check of his web site ARodriguez4Judge does have a photo of him in his referee uniform. A check with the FHSAA does not find any rules prohibiting the wearing of the referee uniform in a campaign ad.  You can find the web site by going here.

Of particular note, the Miami Herald Editorial Board did endorse the challenger, Ariel Rodriguez.  The Herald pointed out that Blumstein has been reversed no less than 14 times by the appellate court.  As just one example cited, “Blumstein empanelled a six-person jury in a murder case in which both defense and prosecution — which rarely act in concert — filed an emergency writ, insisting that the case required a jury of 12. The appellate court decided they were right, and the ruling was reversed.”

The Editorial Board stated: “ ... our conversations with disinterested legal professionals led us to question the degree to which Blumstein is steeped in the law, or taking the time to educate himself before making rulings. Judges are obligated to do their homework as the law evolves or as legislative decisions change the law. Again, it’s a matter of the quality of his rulings and knowledge of the law. Despite his long experience, we are concerned he’s getting the legal basics wrong.”.

Two recent Bar Polls were released, one from the Miami-Dade Bar (MDB)and the other from the Cuban American Bar (CABA). In the MDB, attorneys were asked which candidate is the Most Qualified. The final result was: Blumstein 50% and Rodriguez 50%. In the CABA Poll, attorneys were asked to rate the Qualifications of each candidate as Exceptionally Qualified, Satisfactory, and Unqualified. Blumstein’s scores were 10%, 36%, and 41%. Rodriguez scored out at 26%, 31%, and 17%.

We would be interested in hearing from our readers as to their experiences appearing before Judge Blumstein and any interaction they may have had with Ariel Rodriguez.


Tuesday, August 09, 2022




As previously reported on this Blog last week, in our post entitled SHAME ON YOU RENIER DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA Candidate Renier Diaz de la Portilla crossed so far over the line with the disgusting campaign literature that a PAC connected to him sent out that he may have cost himself any chance of ever becoming a judge, or, if he is elected, he likely guaranteed his removal from office. 

That is because local attorney (and former State Legislator) Juan Carlos “JC” Planas has filed complaints against Diaz de la Portilla with both The Florida Bar and the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC). As first reported by the Florida Bulldog, the Complaints accuse Diaz de la Portilla of using a Political Action Committee (PAC), called Proven Leadership, as a “proxy to smear” his opponent, Judge Fred Seraphin. That PAC was originally set up to support Diaz de la Portilla’s older brother, Miami Commissioner Alex Diax de la Portilla.

In the Complaint, Planas alleges that Diaz de la Portilla violated both the Florida Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct as well as the Canons governing judicial candidates that require candidates to refrain from engaging in inappropriate political activity.

If either the Bar or the JQC find probable cause with the Complaints, the Florida Supreme Court will ultimately determine Diaz de la Portilla’s fate.

In 2018, in a period of just seven days, the Florida Supreme Court removed two sitting judges for campaign violations. Many of our readers will recall when 15th Judicial Circuit Judge Dana Marie Santino was removed from the bench for her attacks on her opponent, when she said things like this: “Attorney Gregg Lerman has made a lot of money trying to free Palm Beach County's worst criminals. Now he's running for judge!"   The JQC report stated “Candidate Santino did not merely compare her background, qualifications, character and integrity with that of her opponent,” the report said. “She imputed guilt to those that were merely accused. She also expressly stated and implied that Lerman was not impartial, was predisposed to favor criminals, while she was predisposed to victims, and courted votes based on each candidate's supposed predisposition.” ARE YOU READING THIS MR. DE LA LIAR.  SOUND FAMILIAR!!!

One week earlier, the Florida Supreme Court removed 7th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Scott DuPont for, what they called “numerous violations of judicial canons, including an allegation that DuPont published false allegations online about his 2016 election challenger, Malcolm Anthony, and Anthony’s family members.”

THE JQC Report found that DuPont “imputed criminality to his opponent’s wife and daughter on his website.”  “He disseminated false and misleading information that Anthony employed aliases, posed as an imposter, and was ‘booked’ for arrest,”.  ARE YOU READING THIS MR. DE LA LIAR.  SOUND FAMILIAR!!!

Why don’t you make it easy on yourself right now by just withdrawing from the campaign so that the most qualified candidate, Judge Fred Seraphin, wins the race, unopposed.


Well, like Britney’s song says: “Oops I did it again”.

Today, the 3rd DCA issued SANCTIONS as the result of not one but four Rules To Show Cause against attorney Bruce Jacobs (there were actually seven cases but who’s counting).  Jacobs is back at it accusing the 3rd DCA of, among other things: (The Opinion can be found here).

“It is self-evident that the right to a meaningful hearing is denied when the Court refuses to recuse itself, refuses to follow the law, knowingly deprives homeowners of their property without due process, and then attempts to disbar the lawyer for exercising his first amendment right to expose corruption in the courts. This is not North Korea, Cuba, Russia or some third world country. This is a major city in the United States of America.”

This Court has entered “orders that violate the constitution as Mr. Jacobs’ African American and Jewish clients believe the court below has repeatedly done.” 

 “It is self-evident that . . . [Mr. Jacobs’] clients are not before a fair and impartial tribunal [as] guaranteed by the constitution.”

This Court has created a “shadow body of law that allows banks to commit fraud.”

This court’s issuance of a citation per curiam affirmed opinion in this case constitutes “an abuse of judicial power, an act of judicial tyranny perpetrated with disregard of procedural requirements, resulting in a gross miscarriage of justice.”

“[There is a problem] when a court has actual knowledge [a party] committed felonies and fraud upon the court, [and] decides to attack the whistleblower attorney who defended against the fraud.” 

“The Judges of the Third DCA should be removed from Mr. Jacobs[’] cases and disbarred for violating the judicial canons, abusing their judicial powers, and knowingly depriving people of

their constitutional rights.”

The list goes on. And on. And on.

The Court issued Sanctions as follows:

1. We formally refer each of these matters to the Florida Bar for appropriate disciplinary proceedings against Bruce Jacobs, Esquire.

2. We award the opposing party, in each of the above proceedings, a reasonable attorney’s fee in an amount not to exceed $5000 (a total maximum amount of $35,0001) for services rendered by counsel for each opposing party in responding to Mr. Jacobs’ post-opinion motions seeking rehearing, rehearing en banc, certification and/or issuance of written opinion. We remand this cause to each of the respective trial courts to fix the amount. Bruce Jacobs, Esq. and Jacobs Legal, PLLC, shall be jointly and severally responsible for payment of the reasonable attorney’s fee.


Monday, August 08, 2022

CIRCUIT COURT GROUP 20 ....... Judge Robert Watson vs. Brenda Guerrero



Another Circuit Court race pitting an incumbent judge against a challenger. In this race Incumbent Judge Robert Watson faces a challenge from attorney Brenda Guerrero.

First a little background on the two candidates:

Robert T. Watson (I)

Judge Watson has been a member of The Florida Bar for 18 years.  Prior to taking the bench, Judge Watson worked at Steel Hector, Holland & Knight, as an AUSA (for 5 years), and Kobre & Kim. He was appointed to the County Court bench in January of 2019 by Gov Rick Scott as one of Scott's last appointments. He was then elevated to the Circuit Court in December of 2019 by Gov. DeSantis. This will be his first election campaign.

Judge Watson has a Net Worth of $1,009,000. Judge Watson reports income of $161,797 from the State of Florida; (and an extra $22,000 from other sources). He has raised $181,868 from a total of 419 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $50,000. To date, he has spent a total of $152,744 on his campaign.

Brenda Guerrero

Attorney Brenda Guerrero has been a member of The Florida Bar for 16 years. She currently runs a private practice specializing in Family law where she has been for the past almost five years. She spent two years working as a Staff Attorney for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society; she then spent nine years working as a Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney where she was assigned to the Child Support Division. She previously applied to the JNC for an open County Court seat. The JNC vetted her application, interviewed her, and did send her name up as a nominee for an open County Court seat to Governor Scott.  This will be Brenda Guerrero’s first election campaign.

Attorney Guerrero has a Net Worth of $186,361. Brenda Guerrero’s reported income for 2021 was $94,000, entirely from her law practice. She has raised a total of $51,206 from 146 contributors and she added $22,500 of her own money. To date, she has spent $56,869 on her campaign.

On July 19, 2018, in a sworn submission to the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC), in her Application for Nomination to the Miami-Dade County Court, attorney Brenda Gitchev Guerrero (she used her married name in 2018, but she has since divorced from Mr. Gitchev) stated, in response to the Question: “In your lifetime, how many (number) of the cases you have tried to verdict or judgment were ...:

Non-Jury Trials - 200

Jury Trials - 0

In 2022, candidate Brenda Guerrero completed a Questionnaire from the League of Prosecutors (LOP) in advance of their Judicial Endorsement Forum. In that filing, she claimed that she has a total of:

Bench Trials, Civil, - Approximately 1500*

Ms. Guerrero has been a licensed attorney in Florida for 16 years. According to her answers with the LOP, she has concentrated her practice in “family law for over 14 years and Civil Law for nearly 2 years”.

*Let’s do the math. That means attorney Brenda Guerrero has handled at least 1,300 non-jury trials in just the past four years.  That breaks down to an average of 325 Non-Jury Trials a year. There are only 248 work days in a calendar year (Monday through Friday minus court holidays). That works out to an average of 1.3 trials, every single day that the courthouse was opened, for the past four years.

In the spirit of making sure that these figures were accurate, we contacted candidate Brenda Guerrero and asked her to explain whether it was even remotely possible for her to have tried 1,300 Bench Trials in just the past four years. Here is what she had to say:

"Captain Justice, thank you for providing me the opportunity to correct a typo on my JNC application for your readers. Actually, it should have been a "1" in front of the "200". During my tenure as an Assistant State Attorney in the Child Support Division, the case load was very large. As you know, I served for almost 10 years. So at the time of my JNC application, I had litigated at least 1200 bench trials to judgment. Back then, ASA's averaged a minimum of 10 trials to judgment per month (or 120 per year minimum), this is common knowledge in the division. My JNC application woefully underrepresented my trial experience, but with that being said, fortunately the JNC nominated me and determined that I was qualified to be a Judge."

One other matter related to candidate Brenda Guerrero. On June 14, 2022, local attorney Benedict Kuehne sent candidate Guerrero a certified letter concerning “Judicial Campaign Practices”.  In that four page letter, Kuehne indicated that he represented the Judge Robert T. Watson Campaign for Circuit Court Judge, Group 20. In the letter Kuehne accused Guerrero's campaign of violating the rules and laws governing judicial campaigns.

Specifically, the Guerrero campaign web site as well as campaign literature listed a number of Endorsements including Endorsements from certain elected officials who were, in 2022, also running for office. Those elected officials included Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo, North Miami Mayor Phillipe Bien-Aime, and Doral Vice-Mayor Digna Cabral.

According to Kuehne, the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee (JEAC) has interpreted the rules and laws of the State of Florida to mean that a candidate for judicial office cannot be endorsed by another candidate currently running for public office in the same election cycle.

A check with Brenda Guerrero’s web site today shows that Senator Pizzo is still listed as an endorsement; (Pizzo is running unopposed in Senate District 37); Vice-Mayor Cabral from Doral is also still listed; (I could not determine whether she is running unopposed or has opposition); and Mayor Bien-Aime’s name has been removed as an endorsement.

We would like to hear from our readers who may have appeared before Judge Watson to give some insight into how he is as a judge. He has been described as smart, fair, and good, but stern to a fault.

We have already posted stories on three other judicial races including Judge Fred Seraphin vs. Renier Diaz de la Portilla; Judge Lody Jean vs. Teressa Tylman; and Judge Oscar Rodriguez Fonts vs. Jason Bloch.  That leaves one Circuit Court race: Judge Mark Blumstein vs. Ariel Rodriguez; and two County Court races: Judge Jeffrey Kolokoff vs. Lissette De La Rosa; and Judge Scott Janowitz vs. Alicia Priovolos. 

Also to come, some BREAKING news on a Bar Complaint just filed against a certain judicial candidate whom I think our readers should be able to very easily figure out. I think Rumpole refers to him as “de la Liar”.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY EARLY VOTING OPENS TODAY. For some unknown reason, North of the Border in Broweird County, their early voting does not begin until August 15.


Sunday, August 07, 2022


 There are important things like judicial races (and candidates like Renier De La Portilla who don't believe in the presumption of innocence) and then there is Football. Are you ready for some football? 


For a record breaking 30th year* the earth quaking, booty shaking, Fake Alex Michaels pick making,      viagra takin, world famous E STREET BAND Justice Building Survivor pool returns!

You know the rules. Send an email to FBpool12@gmail.com to play. Last year's champion Feet of Clay Kaeiser looks to repeat. Retired Judge Jon Colby, currently in Miami, and a long-time enthusiastic player,  was the runner up. Colby can taste hosting the famous Rumpole Survivor Pool Trophy**.  But as we all know it takes a combination of luck and skill to outwit, out last and out survive a deep and talented pool of experienced football survivor pool players.  So send an email to FBpool12@gmail.com and answer this simple riddle: who am I? I am running for Judge. I have sent a flyer attacking a siting judge for being racially targeted and wrongfully arrested while in college although I well know he was exonerated shortly after his arrest, and I do not believe in the presumption of innocence.  Hint: Fidel Castro has endorsed his candidacy. 

Solve the riddle and become a SP playa! 

The rules are simple. You pick one team every week to win. No spread. Just a win. You get one pass for any week you like. There are in-season contests to get you more passes and an extra special extra life. 

First week;s contest. The season kicks off with the Super Bowl Champ LA Rams playing the Super Bowl contender Buffalo Bills. Person(s) closest to the point total wins an extra week's pass. This means if the Bills win 35-34 and you guessed 69, you win.  Any player getting the exact score correct (ie., Bills 9 Rams 6- if that is the exact score at the end of the game you get a second life in survivor pool) wins the extra life bonus. For the judges that are playing, a week's pass allows you to safely sit on the sidelines for a week and automatically advance to the next week. Send an email to  FBpool12@gmail.comand you will automatically be added to the list. And don't forget to send your week one pick.  We are really serious about the  FBpool12@gmail.com address. We will NOT register you or accept any picks to our regular email.  Several blogger/SEC/ European Union rules prohibit running contests from an award-winning blogger's email address (and it causes us too much confusion mixing blogger tips with football picks). 


Long time player De la Over is chomping at the bit to play this season. He lost in the finals to yours truly although he was the favorite and had the stronger team. But as Vince Lombardi once said "luck is the residue of design" and although we had a rough start to the season, we stuck with our team, tweaked our lineup, and held true to the strategy of drafting kicker, defense, backup kicker, in the first three rounds.*** Sounds counter intuitive to all those "grab running backs first" players, but you cannot argue with success. Watch these pages for the signup info for the league and the all important draft day. The more players the merrier.  MDLO was the de-facto and de-jure commissioner last year, helping us run the league, and we will be imposing upon his good nature for the same this year. 

*Hyperbole. We don't remember when we started this, but it was a long time ago.

**More Hyperbole. No such trophy exists. 

*** This only works when you use our patented KD (kicker defense) scoring system where field goals are awarded 9 points for under 30 yards and 11 points between 31-50 and 17 points over 50 yards and 11 points for each sack and Int a defense records. We often threaten this in our league, but after an outcry we always go back to the standard and mundane  PPR scoring system. 

Thursday, August 04, 2022




In a shocker of shockers, Governor DeSantis names Judge Renatha Francis as Florida's newest Supreme Court Justice. Check the Comments section for more on this developing story.


Pits Incumbent Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts against former Judge Jason Bloch.

First a little background on the two candidates:

In 2014, Rodriguez-Fonts ran against Martin Zilber for Circuit Court Judge. Zilber beat him - we all know how that story ended.

In 2016, Rodriguez-Fonts ran against Rosy Aponte and Carol "Jodie" Breece. Rodriguez-Fonts beat Breece in the run-off.

Jason Bloch was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in 2014 by Gov. Rick Scott. When he had to face the voters in 2016 he drew opposition from Marcia Del Rey. Del Rey won over the voters by a count of 52-48%.

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts has a net worth of $24,000.  His salary comes from his work as a Circuit Court Judge. He is paid $161,688. He has raised $191,440 from a total of 409 contributors. He has so far spent $109,042 on his campaign.

Jason Bloch has a New Worth of $72,379,625 (that is not a misprint). Jason Bloch's salary (income) in 2021 was $1,699,142. That entire amount was made up from stock dividends in the amount of $374,063 and a stock sale of some (not all) of his Apple shares in the amount of $1,325,079. Mr. Bloch still owns at least $14,560,740 in Apple stock. Jason Bloch has no other apparent source of income at the present time. According to his campaign literature, since leaving the bench, Jason has focused his legal practice on pro bono representation of people in need, and working with nonprofit organizations. Mr. Bloch is self-funding his judicial campaign. He has reported spending $199,533 to date on his campaign.

Both candidates have been in the news lately and in the spirit of hearing from both sides here is what we can tell you.

Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts appeared at a function organized by the Christian Family Coalition (CFC) of Florida.  He spoke at that function. The function took place the day after the United States Supreme Court announced its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned the right to an abortion as found in Roe v Wade.  Judge Rodriguez Fonts has been widely criticized for appearing at the CFC function, and for speaking at the function. Some people assumed that he was there because of his beliefs on the issue of abortion (and other issues that CFC stands for). Some people believed that his speech was saluting the SCOTUS ruling.

Judge Rodriguez-Fonts has adamantly denied all of those allegations.

1. Judge Rodriguez-Fonts has indicated that he had accepted an invitation to be at the CFC function well before Roe was reversed. (According to the President of the CFC, Anthony Verdugo, invitations to the event went out approximately 4-6 weeks before the SCOTUS decision).

2. Judge Rodriguez-Fonts has indicated that he spoke for less than five minutes and simply introduced himself and touted his candidacy for re-election as a Circuit Court Judge. (According to Verdugo, Judge Rodriguez Fonts spoke about his experience on the bench and his candidacy for re-election).

3. Judge Rodriguez-Fonts has professed that in no way did he endorse anything having to do with the issue of abortion.

4. Judge Rodriguez-Fonts has stated that he never signed any letter stating that he was anti-gay or anti- woman.

It should be noted that Judge Rodriguez-Fonts has received the “endorsement” from the CFC ( they do not call it an endorsement but instead state that he is a Highly Qualified candidate, as compared to his opponent).

The question does need to be asked though, what does it take for a candidate to earn the badge of Highly Qualified from the CFC?

According to the web site of the CFC of Florida, it states as follows:

“The Christian Family Coalition was founded with the purpose of serving as a voice for the pro-family citizens of Florida to ensure that our religious liberties are protected from government intrusion.”

“The Christian Family Coalition works to introduce pro-family legislation at the state and local levels of government. We inform and educate citizens on where candidates stand on the issues that affect the traditional family unit.”

So, what questions did Judge Rodriguez-Fonts answer, and what were those answers that earned him the Highly Qualified stamp of approval?

We asked those questions directly to the President of the Christian Family Coalition of Florida, Mr. Anthony Verdugo. Mr. Verdugo was very cordial and answered all of our questions. In order to be considered for a rating from the CFC of Highly Qualified, a candidate is invited to do three things:

1. Complete an Application
2. Answer a Questionnaire
3. Appear before a live panel and answer questions.

Mr. Verdugo was very clear to point out that, while he is not an attorney, several attorneys do serve on the panel. They are all aware of the prohibition of judges, or judicial candidates, taking a position on any issues. Therefore they do not ask questions concerning issues such as abortion or gay marriage, etc. They understand that judicial contests are non-partisan, they just want to know that the candidate will represent the entire community.

The CFC wants a commitment from the Judge that they will abide by the written text of the constitution and the laws of the State of Florida. They invite all candidates to participate in the process. If a candidate refuses to participate that is their choice but it certainly shows a “lack of respect” for our organization, and the entire community, if they do not participate. They ask the candidate whether they believe that the constitution is a living and breathing document or should be interpreted precisely as written. They want to know that a judge will “follow the law” and “honor their oath of office”. Some judges “make up the rules as they go along and those judges do not have integrity nor character”. 

We then spoke directly with Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts. We wanted to know whether he was required to sign anything that mentioned abortion, gay rights, or any other issues. Here is what Judge Rodriguez-Fonts said to us in response:

“You are correct, as to the three things a candidate does as part of the CFC process.  I assure you that at no time did I take a stance on Gay marriage or abortion issues while at the CFC candidate panel interview.  In fact, it should be noted that when I was assigned to the Family Law Division, I routinely entered orders granting the adoption of children by same sex married couples.  In addition, contrary to the allegations being published about me, I have never signed any letter or document denouncing womens' rights or LGBTQ rights. 

I hope this was helpful in responding to your questions. “

Thank you,


Jason Bloch has also made the news recently. More than a few people began receiving text messages recently maligning the candidacy of Judge Rodriguez-Fonts. According to some of our readers, the content of these texts stated that:

“Judge Rodriguez-Fonts signed a letter denouncing women’s rights groups and LGBTQ groups.” The text went on to say that Rodriguez-Fonts was a “radical” judge.


Many people assumed that Jason Bloch was responsible (through consultants or others) for these text messages. We contacted Mr. Bloch and asked him to address the allegations. Here is his response, unedited:

Dear Captain,

“I admit that upon the advice of colleagues when I became a judge, I’ve tried to avoid reading the Blog, without complete success.  But I understand that you put out a fair and well-written column and so I thank you for the opportunity to respond.

With reference to text messages, my campaign hasn’t engaged in any text message efforts.  I became aware of what I assume is the text you refer to when friends shared it with me.  Prior to that, I had not seen it or been aware of it.

You may be aware that there is a Facebook page purporting to be on behalf of my opponent’s campaign, presently named “Elect Al Juez Correcto,” and previously named after my opponent (“Elect Rodriguez Rodriguez-Fonts”).  It shares his picture and campaign material, levels attacks against me and a sitting judge, and is laden with appallingly racist posts and offensive content.  My opponent denies that he is responsible, and I take him at his word.

My point is when there are voices in support or against a candidate, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are from the campaign.

I believe I can make my case for election based on qualifications and merit alone.  

That said, I believe my opponent’s relationship with the CFC going back many years, and especially his highly visible participation in their recent “Legislative Victory and Candidates Breakfast,” which celebrated the CFC’s legislative achievements and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, has raised a legitimate issue for lawyers and voters.

I have observed that this issue has garnered significant attention on its own, without needing any help from me.  I have heard from many individuals and organizations who are genuinely troubled by this, and who have expressed reactions ranging from profound disappointment to outrage.  Many have undertaken their own messaging and advocacy efforts in response, all quite independent from me and my campaign.  While my campaign has noted the CFC’s backing and stances in some of our materials - and we stand behind those - we are not responsible for the text messages you cite.

I was not invited to attend the CFC’s “victory” (and so-called “candidates” breakfast), nor would I have gone if I had been. (My understanding is that my opponent was the only judge to attend.)  The “victories” being celebrated, including the demise of Roe, were well known beforehand, as the Miami Herald reported on it in advance of the event as did the CFC itself.  Further, the timing and stated purpose of this event made it particularly fraught.  The Judicial Canons, see e.g., Canons 1, 2, 4 and 7, and good judgment, counsel against my attending any event advocating either side of a divisive or polarizing issue, regardless of personal beliefs or legal opinion. 

For better or worse, judicial candidates must campaign and seek votes. But preserving the impartiality of the judiciary, and the perception of impartiality, is on a much higher plane, perhaps now more than ever.  This must always trump the aspirations of any candidate.  There is reason why the Canons preclude judges from attending political events and place other limitations on conduct. 

I was also not invited to participate in the CFC’s endorsement or screening process.  So, I am not well-versed in the details, but my understanding from others is that the CFC requires those who they back, like my opponent, to sign a letter to maintain CFC’s “highly qualified” rating.  I do not have any proof one way or another whether my opponent signed the letter described in the message.  I never alleged he did.

I suggest that you ask CFC and my opponent what is required to get CFC’s backing and whether he signed any letters for them.”


So now you have the facts. Our humble Blog believes that our readers, and the voters of Miami-Dade County are entitled to the facts and to be well informed on the qualifications, (or lack thereof), of the judicial candidates.

It is now for you to decide who gets your vote: Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts or his opponent Jason Bloch.


There seems to sometimes be confusion on who exactly is the author of these judicial election posts. When you see THE CAPTAIN REPORTS that is the work of Captain Justice for the Justice Building Blog. I write the columns (posts) about the JNC process, gubernatorial appointments, and judicial elections.  Rumpole has been kind enough to lend me this thread for the past 17 years, and in all that time, he has only censured me one time. I have never been compensated once in those 17 years for anything that appears under my byline. I do not personally know Judge Jean; I have never personally appeared before her. I may have attended a bar function that she also attended and said hello. That is the extent of my connection to Judge Jean. I thank Rumpole for always having my back and for responding to all of those ridiculous comments in my post from Wednesday accusing me (and him) of somehow profiting from the Jean camp.