JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG

WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.

Monday, October 31, 2022

VOTE EARLY VOTE OFTEN

Your state attorney has this to say about the upcoming election: 


 Whether you vote by mail or in person, early or on election day, every registered voter has the right to have their vote counted accurately. In the State of Florida, we have a Voter’s Bill of Rights which is included on our “Protect Your Voice and Your Vote” flyers. My Community Outreach Division team members distribute these flyers and conduct presentations throughout the County, making sure that voters are familiar with their rights.


In order to ensure that your voting experience remains free of any illegal activity or impropriety, my Voter Protection Hotline at 305-547-3300 is fully activated to receive reports of any irregularities or suspected irregularities at the early voting sites, with mail-in ballots, or on election day. My team of investigators will be available during scheduled voting hours throughout the early voting period and on election day to respond to any complaints of possible voting irregularities.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

NFL WEEK 8 2022

 First our Sunday Wordle.

WordleBot_ Improve Your Wordle Strategy - The New York Times by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

 
 It was tough and the Bot was lucky. 

We are loving the NY football teams. But maybe this Sunday they fall back to earth. A reversion to the mean. 

Giants at Seattle. Hawks giving three at home. Give it. Seattle -3. Giants are due for a loss.

JETS at Cheaters. Are the Cheaters as bad as they seemed ten days ago? We hope so. JETS +2.5 and under 41. 

Fin at Lions. Miami is giving three on the road. We have our ticket on the Tua bandwagons. Miami -3. 

Monday night is get even night. If you have a bad week, take the Bengals who have righted the ship, -3 at the Mistake By The Lake a/k/a Cleveland Browns. 


SURVIVOR TWO TANGLE AGAIN

Fake Alex Michales likes the Bengals Monday night. Hanzy & Coco pick an ez one with the Eagles over the hapless Steelers. 

On we go. Only one can win. 


Friday, October 28, 2022

GERRY KLEIN

 On October 28, 2012 at the age of 90, Judge Gerry Klein- affectionately known as "Fast Gerry" for how he moved his calendars, passed away. 

Our memories of Judge Klein are that he was from another era- from a time when Miami was pronounced "Mi-am-ah". He was a judge before the cocaine, cocaine money, and cocaine wars fundamentally changed Miami forever. 

He was the type of Judge that was unabashedly a member of the old-boys network. Not in the bad connotation of the word, but in the good connotation of the word.  He was the type of judge that would greet a former judge who walked into his court as "Judge", even if they were representing a litigant. 

He could be a bit gruff, especially as he got older. He had his own way of doing things. He spoke quickly and softly during calendar, and yes, this will come out, he liked nothing more than finishing his calendar and getting out on the golf course before lunch. 

As we said, he belonged to a different time and era. He was as much a part of the REGJB as any judge who ever served there- and we think he may have served as a judge for 50 years. Certainly more than 40 years. He was sui generis; a character whose like we will never see again, and we think of him fondly as we walk by his old courtroom on the fifth floor from time to time. 

Here is our blog post when he passed away. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

THE PAPER CHASE

DOM's blog repeated the 11th Circuit's announcement will live stream oral arguments. What a hoot!

Judge: Counsel you are asking this court to reverse a criminal conviction based on the admission of 404b evidence. When was the last time we did that? 

Lawyer: Ummm....when Eisenhower was President

Judge: Exactly. 

Now everyone can see you lose. 

THE PAPER CHASE

Not us, but the generation of lawyers just before us were most likely influenced to attend law school by the novel The Paper Chase by John J.Osborn, Esq, who passed away this week.

The book became a movie starring John Houseman as Professor Kingsfield, and then a television series. 

But John Houseman will forever be the archetypical law school professor, frightening students into studying the law. 


Monday, October 24, 2022

RUMPLE UNDERCOVER

Taking on the familiar role of agent provocateur and reading about our colleagues' troubles at seeing clients in jail, we took matters into our own hands last week. 

The story you are about to read is true. No names have been mentioned to protect the author. 

We have met in the past with the family of a person in DCJ being represented by the PDs. The PDs are doing their normal good job. No need for Rumpole to get involved. But we decided to see if we could see the client, so we went to the jail and filled out one of those pink slips. 

And then we waited. And waited. And waited. And then.....we were summoned to the front. 

Corrections Officer: Are you XYZ's lawyer?

R: No ma'am we most certainly are not. 

CO: Why do you want to see them?

R: That's a privileged matter but suffice to say the client wishes to consult new counsel. Here is an email from a family member asking me to see this individual.

CO: Okay, hang on. 

And we wait and we wait and we wait.  And then...

CO: You cannot be admitted if you are not the lawyer. 

R: Have you ever heard of someone changing lawyers?

CO: Yes, if they want to change lawyers to you you have to put in a notice of appearance. 

R: Well, I am sure you mean file a notice of appearance, but how can they change lawyers without meeting me first?

CO: My supervisor said you have to put in a notice of appearance. 

R: This is the first I am aware of corrections dictating legal filings, but be that as it may, can I speak with your supervisor? 

CO: Okay, hang on. 

And we wait and we wait and we wait and we wait.  And then...

CO: My supervisor said the rules are you have to put in a notice to see a client. 

R: You already told me that. I now wish to speak with your supervisor. 

CO: She said no. 

R: May I have your supervisor's name?

CO: She ain't goin to tell you that. 

R: Do you realize the impossibility of a person in jail changing a lawyer without first, say, interviewing four or five lawyers first? 

CO: (Getting annoyed) She said you have to put in...

R: I know I know... I have to file a Notice of appearance. Is that a rule that cannot be bended in any way? 

CO: No. 

R: Let's say chief judge Sayfie was here with me, and she told corrections I can see the client without putting in a notice.  What do you think about that? Would I be allowed to see the client then? 

CO: Huh?  Who? 

R: Never mind. Have you ever read the sixth amendment? 

CO: Look, these are the rules okay and I cannot break them. You cannot come in without a notice of appearance. 

R: One last thought. Sometimes people in jail are witnesses. Are prosecutors admitted to the jail to see someone? A prosecutor cannot by virtue of their position file a notice of appearance to see someone. How about that? 

CO: Huh? 

R: Pretend a person in jail is a victim of being beaten senseless by a ruthless gang of corrections officers and a prosecutor wants to interview that person for the purposes of prosecuting those corrections officers for aggravated battery. Would the prosecutor be refused admittance- knowing of course that the corrections officers' defense would be the person repeatedly threw themselves into a wall while the officers begged them to stop? 

CO: What you saying? 

R: (Sighs). Never mind. Let it be said, on this day and time, the Dade County Department of Corrections has decided that people in their jails cannot interview lawyers to see if they want to change counsel. Good day to you madam. 

And with that, an almost three-hour excursion into Miami's version of Dante's Inferno: "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here Without a Notice of Appearance" ended in failure. 

What say you Chief Judge Sayfie? What say you FACDL? 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

NFL WEEK 7 2022

 We are mostly not trend setters. We do not rush to the newest restaurant on Sobe. We still do not do much on social media. Although we took the handoff from Mr. Markus who was the first legal blog in South Florida and ran with it, we are mostly late to the party. By design. And that includes our current passion: Wordle. We now play it every morning on the digital edition of the NY Times before perusing Le Monde and then the WSJ. Our average is slightly below a 3. We've had a few twos, a four and a few face-saving fives. But we have never stuck out until yesterday. And that's OK. Stuff happens. But what we object to is the Wordle computer telling us that there was only one word left after "Plied". Why wasn't "Spies" a valid guess? You can have repeat letters. Spiel is a much rarer word. We had it. But we went with Spies. We might be wrong (it happens a few times a year), but we think the Wordle Bot is also incorrect. Thoughts? 



The Dolphis celebrate the 50th anniversary of being the only team to win a super bowl after an undefeated season. Who did they beat in the AFC Championship game? Terry Bradshaw and the soon to be dynastic Steelers. Who do the Fins play tonight on Sunday night football? The not-soon to be dynastic Steelers. The key to this game is a three letter word beginning with a T. TUA. The Fins are a different team with T at QB.  7.5 is a lot to give but take your Fins and have a sip of Champagne celebrating 1972.  For us, our pick is a solid under 44.5. Scoring is down in the NFL this year. Just watch every Thursday night bore fest. 

In October who would have thought the NY teams with the best chance to win a championship field 11 and not 9? Not us. The Yanks are on the robes, while the  Jets and Gints are surging.

This is a suckers bet, but it's fun- Parlay Giants +3 over Jags and Jets +.5  over Broncos.  Parlays pay 13/5. Bet fifty and win 130. How can you go wrong? 

Dak is back. Cowboys -7 at home over a tough but not talented Lions team. 


SURVIVOR FINAL TWO 

Mr. Markus and Jason Ireland made it to week six and then TB12 Tom Terrific let them down in a subpar performance against the tricky Steelers. They are out. It's Hanzy & Coco against Blog Fav Fake Alex Michaels. 

Fake Alex Michaels: Cowboys and 31.

H&C: Dolphins and 46.

New Tiebreaker rule- If both lose- someone can earn a very valuable second bye week by exactly picking the point total in the Fins game. For this to matter, both must lose their picks. 

Friday, October 21, 2022

VOTER FRAUD MOST FOUL

 Maybe it is us. We are not part of this eleven-dollar $$latte Instasnapchat tweets generation  that has taken over. But is not the English language still the English language  (depsite PM Lizie's issues )? 

This cannot be right, can it? 

Protect your WHAT? You can protect your day every day, but we are not convinced you can protect your "every day". You can only protect a noun and "every day" is not a noun. 

Voter Fraud: 

Voter Fraud is rampant. And not just in Florida. Perhaps as many as six or seven people who are not eligible to vote have been caught voting throughout the United States. We know- you are shaken upon realizing the extent of the threat to American democracy.  The public is in an uproar. This fraud is much worse than, say, a president making accusations about elfs stealing votes and taking them to Venezuela where a team of techs changed the vote to McGovern in the last election. 

In any event, Judge Milt Hirsch has said enuff is enuff -and we are paraphrasing him. 

Here's an ABC story   El Herald also has some coverage of this. 

Here's the order dismissing the voter fraud case.  The prosecution has vowed an immediate appeal on the "3rd DCA Doctrine" ("No motion to dismiss in a criminal case shall be granted absent exceptionally compelling circumstances that we envision occurring once a decade or so.")  Just another example of runaway liberal judges legislating from the bench. Disgusting. We should vet judges more carefully. For  example- this should be on a judicial questionnaire: Q: Will you ever grant a motion to suppress or dismiss filed by a defendant? 

The answer, well known to a generation of federalist society members who have become judges (of which a startling number have names like.....our better angels stopped us from printing a list of feminine first names, lest we offend someone or everyone....)  is a resounding NO. 

If a search was illegal? HA that's easy- inevitable discovery. If a case doesn't state a cause of action? Pullhese...kick it to the appellate court which will find the error not preserved, not fundamental, and not worthy of their time. PCA. 

Wood Order on Mt n to Dismiss PDF by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

 



Coming Monday (absent one of our robed readers doing something really dumb this weekend)
Rumpole goes UNDERCOVER- a real life tale of our exploits as an agent provocateur. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

NOT THEIR FINEST HOUR

 Au revoir Liz Truss, we hardly knew ya. You set the record for the shortest term of a British PM- 44 days and ten of those the country was shut down mourning the death of the Queen. First you lost your economic plan, and then you lost your job. 

There were several jokes at the expense of the PM, including a newspaper that bought a head of lettuce a few days ago and wondered which would last longer- the lettuce or the PM. 

The lettuce won. 

But let us say this. While the Torries are in disarray, the greatest democracy in the world is not. It works. Unlike certain countries that make a dreadful mistake in electing a president and then are stuck with him for four years, the British quickly corrected their mistake. 




For those of you who wear black everyday and also spend most of your time on IG (i.e., those of you under 40) you might be puzzling over the title of the post. "Not their finest hour. Hmmm, what an odd phrase. Oh well, let me see what Kim K is wearing today." 

No, it's not an odd turn of a phrase. We are paraphrasing one of the greatest (but not the greatest) oration ever given in the English language. 



Wednesday, October 19, 2022

SAME OLD SONG

 FACDL emails crackling today with tales of lawyers being denied access to the jail.

 Todays' two tales of woe involved 1) a lawyer who was told that although his partner had filed an NOA, even though he was a member of the firm, the rule was that only the person filing the NOA could see the client, AND NO ONE ELSE. Along those lines, the jail personnel were apparently queried about the scenario of a person in jail who wished to interview lawyers to change counsel. THAT IS NOT ALLOWED- was the alleged reply. 

And second, the forbidden land- also known as FDC Miami, the issues there are emails requesting to see a client are going unanswered. Can't you just picture the scene? Bureaucrats sitting around an office, swilling pizza and chugging soda and gleefully playing wordle while not allowing lawyers into the forbidden land. 

"Hey Al- that lawyer who sent two emails yesterday sent another two today. I bet we can get him to send two a day for week. Loser buys a weeks' worth of whoppers. Is it a bet?" 

About a dozen years from now, we can almost see two lawyers walking by FDC. One old. One new. The old one says "You're not going to believe this, but up until 2019 I could walk in there anytime I wanted and see a client in about a half an hour."

The new lawyer gasps in shock. Recovering, she says "That was before Chief Justice Alito wrote the opinion holding the sixth amendment unconstitutional." 

The old lawyer says "Yup. Before that case, no one thought the bill of rights could actually be unconstitutional. But after the Dear leader, president for life Trump made Sam Alito the chief judge and fired Roberts, most of the constitution- other than the second amendment of course- has been held unconstitutional." 

    "We find that the inclusion of certain "rights" in the amendments to the constitution were not rights, but merely compromises of the time based on outmoded political issues. Other than what is recognized as an American's God-given right to carry a gun, none of those so-called rights are anything more than a minority view of long discarded beliefs as to what constitutes freedom. It is therefore the unanimous opinion of this court, with our brother justice Guliani concurring, that amendments 1 and 3-14 are UNCONSTITUTIONAL, with a double secret unconstitutional ruling for amendments 1, 4,5 6, and 14. See In Re Animal House for an explanation of "double secret." 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

TERRORIST BOYZ ACQUITTAL AND JUDGES ON THE MOVE

 The crimes occurred in 2002. 

In 2019 a jury deadlocked on the charges against Benson Cadet. On Monday Cadet was acquitted for first degree murder. Scott Sakin for the defense takes the win. Judge De la O presiding. 

NB: there are two pending murder charges that were severed. The prosecution tried the ol' 404b trick, but it failed. 

Mr. Cadet has been acquitted of two murders, and multiple attempted murders. he has been convicted of a RICO conspiracy to commit murder.  So why is the state spending all this time to continue to prosecute him? Maybe it's because one old prosecutor used to mumble to us "justice has no price tag." 

JUDGES ON THE MOVE

Sure as the sun rises, you can find judges gathering where free food and booze is being served. 

And you can also bet your bottom dollar that wherever a judge is sitting, they are eyeing a colleague's chambers, courtroom, JA, or assignment. Or all four. So your judges are on the move. And here is what we know.  

Judge Maria Elena Verde will be returning to REG as the presiding judge in Division 51, Adult Drug Court. Her office will be REG 405, and the courtroom will remain 4-4. The phone number will be (305) 548-5103. 

Judge Laura Cruz will be the presiding judge in Division 2, Courtroom 2-7. Her office will be REG 217. 

Judge Diana Vizcaino will be moving to the Family Division. 

Query: Shouldn't the family division be called "the used to be a family division" or the "end of family division"? People go there as a family and leave as no longer a family. 

How about "divorce court?" Oh wait- that's taken. 

Anyway, those are your pre-thanksgiving judicial moves. Coming up- the new year judicial rotation. Who will grab those coveted spots in probate? 

Monday, October 17, 2022

THE FINAL PUSH

 We have five weeks before the Thanksgiving break. Which means about four solid weeks of trial. Vacations intrude on the week of and the week after Turkey Day. Then we have the three best weeks during the year to try a case- the three weeks in December before Xmas. Want some Holiday Spirit infecting your jury? Pick six or twelve in December. 

Then we enter the Everest like death zone- the two weeks in the new year when prosecutors and judges hitch up their clothes or robes and remember their new year's vows to "get tough". Avoid trying a case in January if at all possible. This is our number one admonition to trial lawyers. (The second is to waive nothing in trial but the American flag; the third is to object and not worry what the jury will think, and the fourth is to avoid Friday verdicts). 

So polish those shoes and buy some new ties and come to a relatively empty REGJB and announce ready!. Unlike the advice legendary college football coach Woody Hayes once gave about a forward pass ("three things can happen, two of them bad") announcing ready for trial creates all sorts of wonderful possibilities. 

Speaking of trials, some sort of gang member multi-defendant brouhaha which started in the 1950s or thereabouts is winding up before Judge De La O. The Jury is OUT- please email us with any tips or updates.  

TEASER PLEASER 

We went 3 for 3 on our sucker teaser bets yesterday. We still warn against them, although our account now has enough cash to afford some of those Caymus California Cabs we have been eyeing, not to mention one or two Opus Ones. 

THE BOP IS BAD 

Not for the weak of heart is this shocking expose on the BOP being covered by DOM on his blog here. Federal Prison being mismanaged you say? I had no idea! Click over and read only if you are prepared to be shocked and devastated. If you cannot trust nameless and poorly educated bureaucrats to manage a prison system, who can you trust? 

 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

NFL WEEK SIX 2022

 Before we begin pigskin prognostication, we are reading the biography of Paul Newman "The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man", culled together from hundreds of hours of oral interviews. "Who?" says the majority of 30 something judges as they scroll IG and Snapchat. "Oh yeah, the guy who sold popcorn and salad dressing."  For those of you thinking that, please don't read it. Keep on with your candy crush games and denying rule 3's without a hearing and sentencing people to the max because it makes you feel tough and smart. 

For those few of you who don't fit the above description, it's a good read. 

Our national past time has never been better. We are talking about baseball. Two nights ago, David Ovalle's San Diego Padres edged out the LA Dodgers 2-1 in a 9-inning nail bitter. On Saturday they eliminated their hated rivals who won 111 games this year. In two weeks, the Padres have toppled two 100+ game winners- the Mets (101 wins)  and the Dodgers (111), who everyone (including Rumpole) had playing in the NLCS. This SD team has chops. 

Meanwhile the Phillies eliminated the World Champion Braves, and in a classic playoff game that went over six hours and 18 innings the Houston Astros returned to the NLCS for a record six straight years beating the Mariners in Seattle 1-0 in as great a baseball game as you will ever see.  And in Cleveland, down 5-3 in the bottom of the 9th, the Guardians stroked four straight singles to beat the Yanks go up 2-1 in the series and make today a win or go home game for the Yankees.. George Steinbrenner immediately fired the Yanks manager from his grave for mis-managing the bullpen. 

NFL. 

Are there any good games this week? 

Cheaters at Browns? Yawn. Jags at Colts? Double yawn. Bucs at Steelers? Snooze fest. 

Maybe we will skip this week. 

Can your Miami Dolphins, with half the team in the NFL concussion protocol and the other half in the NFL boo-boo protocol win against Minnesota Vikings team that are a surprising 4-1?  The answer is yes, maybe, could be, sure, who knows? Fins are home dogs getting 4.5 and we love home dogs (more on that below). So take a flyer on Miami's 3rd string QB and take the 4.5 and the under 45.5. 

Ravens at Giants. Boy did we blow our pre-season analysis of the Giants. They aren't half bad. And the Ravens aren't that great. Gints are home dogs getting 5.5. We think no, they won't cover, but that's no fun. So lets take a couple of bucks and role with the NY Football Giants. And see below for our sucker bets this week because we are in that kind of mood.  WIN- HOME DOG OF COURSE 

Cowboys +6 at Eagles. We did not blow our pre-season pick of Philly going to the super bowl. And currently they are 5-0.  Pokes backup QB Cooper Rush does what it takes to win-  handing the ball off, making some key throws, protecting the ball, and riding a really good D. Philly could care less. They are a machine and this game means a lot to them if they want to win the division. Dallas win in Philly with a backup QB? Better chance of getting a Broward jury to vote for life, and that never happens, right? Philly -6 and a Geno's cheese-steak wit, of course. 

And now the game of the day: 49ers at Falcons. 

Bills at Chiefs. This has confounded us all week. For the first time in his career Patrick Mahomes is a home dog. Did we mention we paid for a vacation home betting home dogs for the last 30 years?  Chiefs are getting 3 at home. 3 points for Josh Allen and the Bills is a second and 20 at their own five with forty seconds left. E Z P Z. Buffalo is what KC used to be- a team that can score anywhere at anytime. After last years monster playoff game Buffalo beefed up their D and went out and got Von Miller. The Bills told Miller- "here's a truck load of money. Do whatever you want for the rest of the season, but be a presence when we play the Chiefs."  KC in turn got rid of their best receiver (sending him to Miami) and signed an average JuJu Smith-Schuster who becomes yet another in a long line of receivers who just aren't great without Big Ben throwing them the ball. Antwon Randle-El anyone? Mike Wallace Miami fans? 

The Bills are better. Give the three and rest easy. But if you really want to have fun, join us in some sucker teaser bets.  Remember in teasers you get six points extra and must place two bets laying 120 to win 100 (some books list teasers at 130-100, If you can find -110 let us know.) 

Teaser OneMiami 10.5 (from 4.5) and under 51.5 (from 45.5).  WIN BECAUSE OF THE TEASE -Fins lost 24-16. 

Teaser TwoGiants 11.5 (from 5.5) and Eagles even (from -6).  WIN

Teaser Three: Bills +3 (from -3) and Eagles even.  WIN

There is a concept in betting called "expected value" EV. We do not have the time to explain it, Suffice to say if you do the math you can almost never get a positive EV on a teaser, which means Las vegas casinos build billion dollar extensions based on the EV in booking your teaser bets. But they are fun so what the hay? Have a few cold ones, some chili con queso dip and chips and book a few teaser and live a little, As Freddy Rumsen said the night Don and Roger fired him on Mad Men "Monday will be here sooner than you think." 


SURVIVOR SOON 

UPDATE POOLER'S ZOOM PICKS THE CARDINALS - 3:58 PM. 

Markus and Ireland go down with the Brady's upset by the Steelers. Possible for Hanzy and Coco to win on a well placed bye. 

Book1 SURVIVOR Week Six by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Saturday, October 15, 2022

OH TO BE IN ENGLAND

 Oh to be in England now that fall is here. 

CORONATION UPDATE: (The REGJBBlog provides free content on the pending coronation of King Charles as a service to our readers. This will continue from time to time until the big day arrives.) 

King Charles will be coronated on May 6, 2023. Expect your blogger to be reporting from The Grosvenor House on Buckingham Palace Road. Our suite is reserved. 

Camila will be crowned Queen Consort, the first since 1937 when King George VI was crowned after his brother abdicated the throne and his wife became Queen Elizabeth- the Queen Mum to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Queen Camila will be crowned with a bespoke crown with 2800 diamonds first used for the Queen Mum. 

You will of course note that Philip was NOT crowned King during Elizabeth's coronation because there is no King Consort. Instead, Philip became in 1953 Prince Consort and organized the coronation. 

Charles will be holding a smaller and more nibble coronation with 2000 guests (sans Rumpole for the moment) while Elizabeth had 8000. 

The traditional presentation of gold ingots to the monarch? Not for Charles.  A Court of Claims used to assign roles for the coronation to the upper crust of English society will also be done away with.

Will Charles and Camilla ride in the Golden State Coach? Or are rumors of an arrival in a Tesla Model X true? We have it on good authority that the Coach- refurbished for the Queen's 75 Platinum Jubilee (including an iPhone charger discretely placed in the back seat) will be used. 

MEXICAN WEEK DID NOT GO WELL

There was a contretemps on the Great British Baking Show recently with the advent of Mexican Week. It did not reach, mind you, the level of scandal that "custardgate" reached many years ago when contestant Deborah grabbed Howard's custard from the fridge for layering her trifle, causing Howard to use Deborah's custard. But the snarky innuendo of jokes about our neighbors to the south was boorish behavior and we expect better from a cultural icon representing all that is great about the Realm. 

SNOW-LONG TO SNOW DAYS

In South Florida, where our body resides sans soul which is ensconced in England, Chief Judge Altonaga has put an end to the fun and frivolity of Hurricane "Snow Days". If court is closed because a storm is about to wipe South Florida off the map, the chief expects the support staff to attend work electronically. 

"What was that noise?"

"Sorry Judge- a tree crashed into my kitchen."

"Well, I need the J&C finished on the Gaspacho case and those forfeiture orders against that Children's charity signed and filed. The government thinks those kids are getting two juice boxes for lunch and that is wasting money that can be forfeited.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

JURY RECOMMENDS LIFE FOR NICOLAS CRUZ


In a shocking verdict the jury in the Parkland school shooting case did not unanimously recommend death for Nicholas Cruz in each of the 17 counts. 

In 17 verdicts, the jury found over and over again the existence of aggravating factors, and the existence of some mitigating factors and that the aggravating factors DID NOT outweigh the mitigating factors and they did not recommend the death penalty in any of the counts. 

Take from this what you may, but here is what we see: 

There will be calls by politicians to allow judges to override jury recommendations for life. 

There will be calls by politicians to go back to a less than unanimous requirement for a sentence of a death. 

There will be calls by politicians to have people who are convicted of first degree murder to be automatically sentenced to death, with the defense required to rebut the presumption of death. 

Put another way, we live in a society that reacts to public cases. The dozens of pedestrian death penalty cases where the defendant is sentenced to death are not reported. But when there is one outlier case in a public setting, politicians will act and will set policy not by reason and deliberation, but by public outrage. 

This will be very bad tidings for the defense in death penalty cases for at least the next five years. 

Other than life in prison for Cruz, nothing good will come of this. Of that you can be sure. 
This is just a tragedy compounded on a tragedy.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE AND THE FALLACY OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER

 To every Judge who has ever sentenced someone to life in prison, especially in Florida when the defendant was charged with first degree murder and the jury found him guilty of second degree murder.

“To serve a life without parole sentence is to observe your soul slowly ebb away, drip by drip, until the body becomes nothing but a living, functional casket of humanity. Death of the spirit occurs many, many years before the actual sentence is completed.” --Nathaniel Butler


Why don't we ever talk about the second-degree murder trap? It's less serious than first degree murder, and yet for most of the crimes/sentences, the punishment is the same.  Charged with first degree murder with a firearm. Jury comes back second-degree murder. Sentence is the same.  Doesn't make sense if you are from outside the criminal justice system. 

Isn't it time we stopped running criminal justice based on a reaction to some 1970's movies hyper-sensationalizing some rare cases where a person was released from prison and re-offended?  You can trace all our minimum mandatory laws to the 1970-80's fictional accounts of people getting released from prison and re-offending. 

And while we are at it, how about when the Judge LIES to the jury and tells them that sentencing is exclusively her decision, when in a minimum mandatory prison sentence case the judge has NO discretion whatsoever. The sentence is wholly dependent on what the jury does. 


Monday, October 10, 2022

UKRAINE UNDER ATTACK

 



Good Monday morning. As you wait for your Starbucks iced latte, bemoan the Dolphins' loss, and try to get to the front of the zoom line for your court case this morning  (court is closed), Ukraine is under a massive missile attack from Russia and their war criminal leader Putin. Missiles are striking Kiev, the capital, as well as multiple civilian centers well away from the front-line battles. This is a war crimes retaliation against innocent civilians for Ukraine blowing up the Crimean bridge and severing a strategic supply line for Russia into the Ukraine territory it has illegally annexed. 

Think of the innocent Ukrainian civilians today as you muddle through your pedantic business. 







Sunday, October 09, 2022

NFL WEEK 5 2022

DOLPHINS UPDATE Teddy Bridgewater is injured. He is out. Skylar Thompson, rookie Kansas State, 7th round pick, is your Dolphin QB. Now it's LWOB.  

Good NFL Sunday to you. It's the start of LWOT for Miami Dolphin Fans (Life Without Tua). Tua was having the season Dolphin fans were anticipating when he was drafted. Tua was throwing deep, throwing with authority, hitting receivers in tight windows and he had receivers who could add YAC (yards after the catch). In first place, Tua was having the kind of season that could have taken Miami deep into the playoffs. All of that is a distant headache, as Tua sits in concussion protocol and the Dolphins turn once again to Don Strock Teddy Bridgewater for a bridge over troubled waters. It as sound as the Russian's bridge to Chechnya (which Ukraine blew to bits Saturday). 

In a nod to our post yesterday we rank the games by food. 

Eagles at Cardinals. Filet Mignon. Philly is -5.5 on the road. It's a big number. Arizona won on the road last week (but at Carolina so it barely counts). Ride or die with our Super Bowl pick. It's worked so far. Philly -5.5 and over 49.5. 

Bengals at Ravens.  Ribeye.  Ravens giving a measly three at home. They lost two close games and Cincy is having the post super bowl blues. Many teams repeat (but LA won't this year) but it's harder to bounce back after a SB loss. Ravens -3. 

Dolphins at Jets. Cuban Sandwich/Nathan's Hotdog.  The Jets are a home hot dog- getting 3.5. Their QB Wilson -back from injury - won on the road last week in his first start of the season, having a great 4th Q. The Jets had a great draft and those players are having an impact. If Tua didn't have these concussion issues this would be the first of many shootouts between two top QBs in the AFC east. Alas, all is not what we would want it to be. Many a yacht has been bought by betting home dogs. Jets +3.5.

Lions at Cheaters. Chicken Drumettes.  Detroit is starting to gel. They have an enthusiastic coach and some players. The Cheaters are in disarray. Couldn't happen to a better coach.  We will take the three because it's always a pleasure to root against the evil genius. 

Cowboys at Rams. NY Strip. The Cowpokes didn't miss a beat when their QB went down. But they've been winning with gum and string and clips and a good play here and there.  Which is what teams need to do when their starting QB goes down. LA is hurting. They are giving 4.5 and that number has our attention. Why? Because we think the line should be 3. So what does that tell you young Jedi? It tells us the Books are forcing people on to the Dallas gravy train while the sharpie money is on LA. Trust the force Luke and take LA at home -4.5 to bounce back. 

SURVIVOR POOL 

Update- Your NY Football Giants upset the Packers after the Gints rallied from a halftime deficit and won the game in an upset in London. The Surprising Giants are 4-1. The Packers are not. And your fav Survivor appellate ace Dan Tibbet takes the PCA loss and is out. 

Book1 SURVIVOR Week Five by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Saturday, October 08, 2022

SATURDAY FOOD EDITION

 An alert reader asked us a question for the ages: Chicken Wings- Drumette or Wing?


Wing 

Drumette 

Steak choice- Filet Mignon, NY Strip or Ribeye?

Pizza: NY Style or Deep-Dish Chicago Style?

Subs: Philly Cheesesteak or Miami Cuban ? 

Hot Dog- NY Nathan's Off the grill or Chicago Style boiled with a slice of tomato and pickle (Rumpole's Choice- we did a whole post on Chicago style dogs many years ago). Mustard or ketchup or both on the dog? 



Thursday, October 06, 2022

PARDON YOU

 If you have a federal marijuana possession conviction, President Biden just pardoned you. 

More important news is that Biden directed that the Schedule One classification of marijuana (the same as LSD and Cocaine and Heroin) be re-examined. 

The re-scheduling of marijuana will allow it to be sold easier and for businesses who operate marijuana distribution and sales centers to put the proceeds of their business in a bank. Right now banks do not want to take proceeds from the sale of a schedule one narcotic. 

This has been long overdue. 

Biden also encouraged state governors to follow his lead and issue similar blanket pardons for state court convictions. Don't hold your breath Floridians. 


BEST HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME

 Longtime and careful readers of the blog know our favourite holidays are Arbor Day and Groundhog day. But Halloween is up there. And October is unofficially Horror Film Month. 


Here are our top ten horror films of all time. Feel free to agree. 

10.  An American Werewolf in London.  If you haven't seen this classic, go and watch it. It's fun. It's a bit scary. It's original and unique. 

9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).  A horror film with an underlying message about the politics of the time. 

8. Carrie. Stephen King had a policy early in his career not to get involved in movie projects of his novels. Later he would get so upset over some movies, that he would fund a second  production of his movie version of the novel. Not needed with Carrie. It stands as the best movie adaptation of a King novel. And it touches that deep part of the buried psyche that houses the indignities we all suffered in Highschool. Who hasn't wanted a chance to get even? 

7. Halloween. (1978). Another 70's horror film (see below), Halloween started the slasher genre. "Why are they going into the attic when the front door is open?"  type of film. It makes you squirm and scream inside "get out! Don't do that!". More campy now than when it first came out, it started its own line of slasher imitators as well as a 35-year vehicle for sequels. 

6. Broward Courthouse welcoming video to new jurors.   Psycho. Not a film we personally love, but a Hitchcock film has to make the list, and this is his most scary.  For 1960 it is stretching the edge of the envelope as to what the censors would allow. 

5. Night of the Living Dead (1968). Before the Walking Dead, there was this film, a B budget apocalyptic film about Zombies. It took a while before the public's fascination with civilization ending Zombie apocalypse stories took hold, but this started it all.  

4. Rosemary's Baby (1968). If the 1970's were the best decade for horror films, Rosemary's Baby teed it up with a classic.  Filmed in NYC with a young Mia Farrow, a collection of Manhattan characters are not what they seem to be.  A superstar cast with John Cassavetes,  Charles Gordin, and Ruth Gordon make the film a true and unique classic. 

3. The Omen. The 1970s were a great decade for horror films.  While the Omen came after the Exorcist, it was no mere imitator. Not many kids were named Damien after this flick hit the theaters.  

2. Frankenstein. 1931. The first real monster movie. The movie ignores much of the underlying themes of the classic novel, but it is still groundbreaking.  

1. The Exorcist. William Friedkin's classic stands the test of time. An unseen horror comes into a house, slowly, with strange bumps and bangs in the attic, and a young teen girl's playing with a Ouija board that answers her questions. Slowly she gets sick. Headaches, uncontrollable spasms on a bed, walking downstairs during a Georgetown party and telling an astronaut guest "you're going to die up there" and then losing control of her bladder. Then it gets worse. The mother, out of ideas consults a young and disaffected priest, who slowly comes around to the idea he might be dealing with a true possession. He records the girl, who by now is tied to the bed and speaking gibberish. The girl/demon briefly takes on the personality of the priest's recently dead mother. We are now in another realm of horror. Rhe supernatural in the bedroom of a normal house in the neighborhood. If it can happen there, where can't it happen? When the priest plays the recordings backwards, he hears people speaking. it's a chilling scene, followed by the letters "h e l p  m  e" slowly appearing on the girl's stomach. There's a 360 head turn, a floating bed, and a truly shocking slither down the stairs scene that didn't make the original cut but is so very scary when you see it.  When the priest brings his evidence to his superiors, the church brings in the last known priest to have performed an exorcism, and you have the face-off between two old enemies. The iconic shot of Merrin the Priest-Exorcist approaching the house where satan has possessed a young girl, standing outside the home at night, under the triangle of light of a lone streetlamp, is one of the best you'll ever see in a movie. 

The Exorcist holds up over time. And if you really want to enjoy being scared, read the novel, which is essentially a mystery novel in which the priest is the detective, and satan is the entity he is chasing. 

Honorable mention: 

Nosferatu, a 1922 silent horror movie is still a must see;  

The Friday the 13th series- Halloween was taken so they made a series of slasher films on the only other day available for potential horror. Not our cup of tea, but successful and part of a genre that demands attention.  See also A Nightmare on Elm Street. 

Jaws. Don't go swimming. And "you're gonna need a bigger boat." Quint is a great original character played perfectly by the great Robert Shaw who died way too young. 

The Shinning (Jack Nicholson edition) See #8. Close but not as good, but a terrifying descent into madness that many of us writers can identify with.  Misery with James Caan and Kathy Bates is a close 3rd. 

The Wolfman and Dracula. See #2. Almost as good, but Frankenstein makes the list. 

If you want to talk horror novels, then The Exorcist, and Stephen King's IT are the top two, followed by King's Carrie and a slew of other early King novels. 


Wednesday, October 05, 2022

ZOOM AND DOOM

 Courtesy of Judge De La O, the Florida Supreme Court has been tinkering with Zoom.  Below are the changes you can expect. 

Can you just envision the closed-door meetings in Tallahassee? 

"What's a pod?" ; "How can we make sure no more lawyers appear as cats?" ; "How can I get it to look like the Golden Gate Bridge is in the background?";                                       "Is this Tik Tok and Snap Chat?" 

On July 14, 2022, the Florida Supreme Court amended multiple rules of procedure to provide for the permanent authorization of certain court proceedings using “communication technology” (for our purposes here, Zoom).  As a result, the Court has repealed portions of AOSC21-17, Amendment 3, specifically the sections dealing with:

 
1) Section II.A., “Use of Technology”;
2) Section II.B., “Administration of Oaths”;
3) Section II.D., “Appellate Court Proceedings”;
4) Section II.E.(1), “Juror Disqualifications, Excusals, and Postponements”;
5) Section II.E.(2), “Jury and Other Proceedings”;
6) Section II.E.(3), “Remote Civil and Criminal Jury Selection Proceedings and Trial Proceedings”;
7) Section II.E.(4), “Other Trial Court Proceedings”; and
8) Section II.E.(5), “In-Person Trial Court Proceedings. 

 Attached is the Court’s July 14, 2022 Amendments to the various procedural rules.  Here are some highlights that affect us in the criminal division:

Rule of Judicial Administration 2.530(c) allows for the continued use of Zoom for juror prequalification to determine if a juror should be disqualified, excused, or have their jury duty postponed

Rule of Judicial Administration 2.530(b)(2)(B) requires that if testimony is taken by Zoom, the oath must be administered by someone who can administer oaths in the witness’s jurisdiction and who is present with the witness.

Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.116(c) allows the use of Zoom for any pretrial conferences, at the court’s discretion.  However, the court can order that the defense appear on Zoom only if the defendant has waived his physical appearance pursuant to Rules 3.180(a)(3) and 3.220(o)(1).  Before ordering that a hearing proceed on Zoom, the court must give notice and consider any objections, but the court can proceed with a Zoom hearing at its discretion.

Rumpole notes- doesn't this seem like a whole lot of work just to waive a physical appearance? We mean, do there need to be TWO separate rules on waiving an appearance? 

Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.116(d) allows the use of Zoom for testimony at a hearing or trial if (1) all parties consent, (2) the party wishing to present such testimony moves the Court for permission by setting forth good cause for allowing Zoom testimony, (3) the oath is administered to the witness as set forth in 2.530(b)(2)(B), and (4) the Defendant’s confrontation rights are protected (i.e., witness must be able to see defendant and vice-versa) or Defendant waives any applicable confrontation rights.. 

There are other changes, these are the ones that jumped out at me as having the most impact on our operations in the Criminal Division.

COURTS CLOSED

 Miami Dade Court is closed today. Apparently there is a lot to repent for. 

Mexican Actor Pablo Lyle was convicted of manslaughter in a trial that captivated much of Mexico and Spanish Language media in Miami. 

The trial was tweeted by Herald Reporters @grethelaguila and @davidovalle305. It's hard to get behind El Herald firewall. 

Mr. Markus has the latest on the Onion filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court. Like Rumpole, they included some snarky text in their filings. 

As we understand the holiday of Yom Kippur, after a day of fasting and prayer, it may absolve to penitent of sins between her and her maker but does not absolve them of sins they have committed against other mere mortals. 

In the spirit of which, we will take this moment and apologize to those whom we have offended in the last year, and about which we are sorry. The list follows: 



Normal court operations (Broward excepted from the term Normal) resume tomorrow. 


Monday, October 03, 2022

FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER 2022

 Today is the first Monday in October- the day when the Supreme Court (motto: "Precedent matters except when it's politics...") comes into session for the year. You know that certain federal bloggers live for this day as much as they do the release of the next Star Wars Episode. 

But today we bring in our constitutional historian Judge Hirsch for a little history on how mediocrity almost intruded on to the Court:

Although she was sworn in over the summer, tomorrow – Monday, October 3, 2022 – Ketanji Brown Jackson will become the first Black woman to sit as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  She will also become the first Floridian.

Justice Brown Jackson attended Miami Palmetto Senior High School.  She then went to college at Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude.  After working for a year she returned to Harvard for law school, serving as supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduating cum laude.  She clerked at the district court, circuit court, and Supreme Court levels before entering practice.  In 2013 she became a federal judge.

Although she is the first Floridian actually to serve on the Court, she is not the first Floridian nominated to the Court.  On January 19, 1970, President Nixon had nominated a Floridian, Judge G. Harrold Carswell, to the Supreme Court.  During the Senate confirmation hearings, it was reported that 40 percent of Carswell’s opinions in his years as a district judge had been reversed on appeal.  Louis H. Pollak, then dean of the Yale Law School, testified that, “There is nothing in these opinions that suggests more than at very best a level of modest competence, no more than that.”  Senator George McGovern used the word, “mediocrity.”

 In response, Senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska, a devout Nixon supporter, told reporters, “Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers.  They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance?  We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters, and Cardozos.”

Of course while it is debatable about whether we have mediocrity on the Court, we have it in politics. It's almost everywhere you look (R). 

--


Sunday, October 02, 2022

NFL WEEK 4 2022 SAFETY EDITION

 We are on the West Coast of Florida, helping our friends and strangers clean up and face the long prospect of rebuilding. 

As such. we do not have any NFL Picks for the early games. We may get some late games and the 8pm game and MNF up later. 

Very briefly:

KC -2.5 over Tampa.  Bucs are old, hurt and not that good. 

Buffalo -4 over Balitmore. Hard to pass up a home dog.  LOSS BY 1 POINT

Eagles -6.5 over the Surprising Jags and the over 48.5 WIN And WIN 

Seahawks +6 at Detroit. Lions are getting better, but they are banged up, especially on O. WIN

Bears at Giants. Under 38.5. May be under 14. Ha.  WIN

We will have the survivor pool up shortly. 

Think of this. We were a shift of 50-100 miles of having Miami Beach become a reef. And what would happen to all those models who habituate Ocean Drive? It would have been a cultural and personal and physical disaster. 

The Beach Towns on the West Coast of Florida SHOULD NOT REBUILD. Nature is telling Florida something. 

Let the beach be the beach. Rebuild in-land, away from the water, where humans can safely live. Because doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. And Florida will be hit again and again and again until the oceans cool down, and that's not going to happen any time soon. 

Just as we should not rebuild beachfront property for safety issues, Fins QB should sit for 2-4 weeks. This young man received two severe concussions in four days. When he gets to be our age, this will affect his cognitive abilities. There is more to life than playing football. 

Survivor Update: Dore Louis didn't listen to us and took a loss with the Lions and is out. 

Book1 SURVIVOR Week Four by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Saturday, October 01, 2022

AFTERMATH

 A good portion of Florida was blown and washed away. The aftermath of Hurricane Ian is bad. A hundred miles to the east, and we would be writing this blog post in dark, and you wouldn't be able to read it. 

Miami. See It Like A NativeIt's Only A Matter Of Time

On Thursday Night, Miami QB Tua was knocked to-a nother plane of consciousness. His second concussion in four days. Prior to being slammed on the turf he was looking great. Sharp, strong passes, and moving the team. 

Now the season is in peril, as is Tua's health. He needs to stop playing. It's not worth it to end up like some Broward Judge, babbling incoherently and acting odd. 

Speaking of Judges, cases, and trials, DOM battled the United States Of America to a standstill in a medical oncology anti-trust case in Fort Meyers. The Jury was hung, and then the courthouse was blown away (damaged?) because of Ian. Mistrial declared. Word has it the defense fought from behind the whole time, even losing a battle to keep a juror who felt all oncologists were frauds off the jury. And yet they hung. Well done. 

We are into holiday season. Halloween 😈 this month. Thanksgiving πŸ¦ƒin November. Kwanza in December. It's a time for festive feelings, thoughts, and deeds.  People who wear black robes at work excepted.