Monday, April 29, 2024


 Good Monday morning! To our friends celebrating Passover- tired of matzoh yet?  

Our takeaway on the judicial races and non-races.  We did not see any "Rosy Races" (c) Justice Building Blog 2024, all rights reserved.  Not that they are our favourite coven of people, but those who wear all black to work who did not deserve to be challenged were not. Again, this is not about who we like, but wanting to maintain some semblance of competency with a judiciary rapidly being remade into a group of federalist drones who have limited trial experience and should just stay out of our way as we try our cases. Funny how they are all about exercising limited judicial authority until they are watching a prosecution case fall apart and all of the sudden their activist tendencies come roaring out. 

Anyway we do have one question- with a lot of uncontested races why do we have, year after year, at least one three-way race?  Judge-a-trois? 

And now on to the important stuff. The Miami Dolphins draft. It was interesting to say the least. 

Starting with Chop Robinson at 21, he is an explosive athlete edge rusher with the best first step of any edge rusher in the draft. The question is whether he's a one trick pony and whether he can be coached up with technique to go with his speed. If so, he can be like another Penn State LB - Mikah Pasrsons, and he isn't having a bad career. We were happy to see the Fins go O line with pick 2 at 55 with massive tackle Patrick Paul from Houston. Remember that the Fins cannot throw or run without the O line doing its job.  

But what we are really excited about is Jaylen Wright, RB Tennessee, at pick 3 at 120. He is another addition of pure speed to the fastest offense in the NFL.  He ran a blistering 4.38 at the combine, which is about as fast as you will see for any running back. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry in 2023 and basically he is the type of back that can take it to the house on any play from any place on the field. He makes the O faster, if that was possible. 

The questionable pick was Edge Rusher Mohammed Kamara at pick 5 at 158. Many teams doubled up on CBs (The Eagles who had an amazing draft) and O lineman (The Steelers picked three in their first five picks) but we are hard pressed to find any team in recent memory who followed up a round one edge rusher with another one in alater round.  

WR Malik Washington in round 6 at number 184 is yet another fast, small, elusive WR- Tyreek Hill lite until he makes his own mark.  This was great value for a receiver we had mocked anywhere from late third to early fifth round. Once again the Fins went with the philosophy of speed kills. 

The Fins did not get great recognition from the media experts for a good draft.  Many think they pulled the trigger on Chop too early when there were outstanding O-Linemen still on the board and that if they were fixed on Chop they could have traded up in the second round to nab him- maybe using that fifth round pick they selected Kamara with. Our philosophy on drafting is that if you like your player, you draft him. What would have happened if Shula passed on Marino in round one because he thought he was taking him too high? 

This is the season for the Dolphins. The Bills and Chiefs got better. The Cheaters are two years away from being competitive and the Jets are one achilles heel injury from having another disaster of a season.  If not now, when? If not them, who? 

Sunday, April 28, 2024


 Did you that our own Florida Bar (mott "Dues please") has a separate website that has all sorts of stuff like free CLE, and practice management tools? 

And it is named LegalFuel

Your dues at work. 

We are reminding many of you that if your judge was up for election this year and did not get opposition on Friday to speak softly in court on Monday. Their hangover will just be subsiding. 

Friday, April 26, 2024






Group 8 (Judge David Miller retiring)

Jason Bloch v. Bonita Jones-Peabody

Group 29 (Judge Pedro Echarte retiring)

Heloiza Correa v. Cristobal David Padron

Group 49

Congratulations to Judge-Elect Marie Mato who wins election in her first bid to wear the judicial robe without drawing an opponent; (do we call that a “Milt Hirsch”).

TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the last Circuit Court Judge to win election in their first attempt without opposition.

The following 21 judges were re-elected without opposition:

GROUP 2 Ariana Fajardo Orshan
GROUP 13 Jose L Fernandez
GROUP 14 Vivianne del Rio
GROUP 15 Maria Elena Verde
GROUP 24 Mindy S. Glazer
GROUP 25     Yery Marrero
GROUP 31 Carlos Lopez
GROUP 36 Lisa Sharon Walsh
GROUP 42 Miguel M. de la O
GROUP 43 Ellen Sue Venzer
GROUP 47 Maria de Jesus Santovenia
GROUP 53 Jason Emilios Dimitris
GROUP 54 Antonio "Tony" Arzola
GROUP 56 Javier A Enriquez
GROUP 58 Diana Vizcaino
GROUP 61 Christine Bandin
GROUP 66 Lourdes Simon
GROUP 68 Victoria del Pino
GROUP 71 Charlie Johnson
GROUP 78 Valerie R. Manno Schurr
GROUP 80 Marisa Tinkler Mendez


Group 29 (Judge Myriam Lehr retiring)

Christopher Benjamin v. Alina Salcines Restrepo v Scott Janowitz*

*Janowitz originally filed in this Group in June of 2023. He redesignated to Circuit Court Group 25 on April 24th challenging an incumbent Judge and he stayed in that Group for exactly one day. On April 25th, he notified the State Elections Department that he was once again re-designating back into County Court Group 29.

Group 31

Judge Christopher Green v. Rita Maria Baez 

Group 4 (Judge Robin Faber retiring)

Congratulations to Judge-Elect Michelle Marie Urbistondo who wins a seat on the bench in her first attempt without facing opposition.

Group 12 (Judge Steve Leifman retiring)

Congratulations to Judge-Elect Mariano Corcilli who also wins a seat on the bench in his first attempt without facing opposition.

The following 15 judges were re-elected without opposition:

Group 01 Patricia Marino-Pedraza
Group 02 Kristy M. Nunez 
Group 06 Jorge Perez Santiago
Group 10 Diana Gonzalez-Whyte 
Group 14 Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer 
Group 18 Betsy Alvarez-Zane
Group 21 Jacqueline Michelle Woodward 
Group 22 Linda Singer Stein
Group 26 Maria De Fatima Ortiz 
Group 32 Lizzet Martinez 
Group 33 Eleane Sosa-Bruzon 
Group 37 Yara Lorenzo Klukas 
Group 40 Michael George Barket 
Group 41 Larry King 
Group 43 Milena Abreu

Both State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and Public Defender Carlos Martinez win election without facing an opponent.

It is going to be a long, hot summer, as the nine candidates trek from a Homestead breakfast, to a lunch in Hialeah, and then a dinner in Aventura, night after night after night, attending one judicial forum after another.

*According to the State Division of Elections and the Miami-Dade County Division of Elections.


Thursday, April 25, 2024


SECOND UPDATE- We beliece the former Judge is back in his original race. We begrudgingly compliment him for recognizing the error in judgement his recently exhibited. 

UPDATE: THE JUDGE WITHDREW HIS CHALLENGE  as such we removed his name and replaced it with an initial because he does not deserve publicity good or bad. 

The aforementioned former judge at the top of this post, who was in a county court multi-candidate race, removed himself from his contested race and went into a circuit race. 

There is every reason to believe that this slug did this because of the information he has that leads him to believe that the Judge he filed against is currently battling an illness. (See disclosures below). 

Some thoughts. 

A coward dies a thousand deaths, and we will do  all in our power to see that this coward is soundly beaten at the polls. 

We are calling upon the Miami legal community to shun the coward who did this act which shows a complete lack of character and has no qualities that would allow him to claim he should be a judge.  When he walks into a room at an event do not shake his hand. Do not acknowledge his presence. When he gets up to speak at any event he is invited to, stand up, turn your back to him, and wait until he finishes speaking. Do not interrupt him. The silence and the shunning will speak volumes. 

The John F Kennedy Library Foundation annually issues Profiles in Courages awards to individuals who "demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership.

There is no award for a coward so desperate to hold on to office he is clearly unqualified for that he would use the supposed illness of a colleague to run against her. 

Now a couple of thoughts and the disclaimer. 

First, we will not name the judge this coward is running against. Her illness, if true, is a private matter unless she decides to make it public. 

Second, let's assume she is ill. One might ask why shouldn't a healthy judge who can work full time run against someone who's ability to work may be impaired by an illness? 

Good question. 

Here is the answer. A man does not kick a colleague when they are down. A man does not take advantage for his personal and political benefit the illness of a friend or a colleague. A man stands and fights for his spot on the ballot and doesn't slink off from a fair fight to pick on an injured colleague. A man of honor and integrity does not do such a thing. 

If the judge who the former judge has decided to run against is too ill to work, it is her decision to resign from the bench. Honor and decency demand such a thing. She came to the bench exceptionally well qualified and is spoken of as one of the best judges in Miami. She has earned the right to handle her illness her way. A man with dignity and honor would accord her the respect she has earned. A coward does not. 

A slug does this. A man with no honor and integrity does this. A man who has none of the attributes of a judge does this. If this person does not have the courage to fight for his seat, how can we expect him to have the courage to make a politically unpopular decision on a case. This is a man so desperate to reobtain power that he will do anything to keep it, and that leads us to reasonably believe and aver that this person will never make a legally correct and politically unpopular decision. This is a person who has shown this community that he would never place his job as a judge in jeopardy to do what is right. 

This is a nearly unspeakable act of vile cowardice and political avarice. 

This man is the prime example of the "cold and timid soul" that Theodore Roosevelt was speaking about in his famous Man In the Arena Speech. 

This act of spineless cravenness will long be remembered for the maneuver we have described. May he lose 100,000 to 1.  

It is not the critic who counts; not the man 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 the 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 that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

We hope he reads these words, looks in the mirror, and knows all that he is not and can never be. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024






SCOTT JANOWITZ has withdrawn from the Circuit Court Group 25 race and he will not challenge Judge Marrero. We predict that he will jump back into a County Court race.  

There is a back story. 


As we reported last night (read below) Candidate Scott Janowitz has jumped out of his County Court Group and filed against Incumbent Circuit Court Judge Yery Marrero. UPDATE #2. Scott Janowitz has paid his Qualifying Fee. He is locked into Group 25 and will be running against Judge Marrero.


Very little to report after two days. Qualifying Week ends at Noon on Friday. As of 5 PM today, there have been no new candidates entering races for Circuit or County Court Judge.

In the Circuit Court:

All candidates that filed have paid their Qualifying Fee except for two: 

Group 14 - Vivianne del Rio - NOW QUALIFIED

Group 56 - Javier Enriquez - NOW QUALIFIED

In County Court:

All candidates that filed have paid their Qualifying Fee except for:

Group 18 - Betsy Alvarez Zane - NOW QUALIFIED

Group 29 - Scott Janowitz - Moved to Circuit Group 25

Group 31 - Rita Maria Baez - we spoke with Ms. Baez and she has indicated that she will be qualifying in this Group. - NOW QUALIFIED

In Group 29, there are three candidates listed as intending to run in that Group. Two of those candidates, Christopher Benjamin and Alina Salcines Restrepo, have paid their Qualifying Fee. They are each locked into this race.

Candidate Scott Janowitz, who was appointed to the bench by Gov DeSantis in 2020 and ran in 2022 to hold his seat, and lost that seat to current Judge Alicia Privolos (60% to 40%), Janowitz has communicated with me and stated that he will be Qualifying in a Group. Janowitz would not respond to my question as to which Group, which leads me to believe that, given the fact that Group 29 already has two candidates, Janowitz is looking at other Groups and gauging which race would give him the best chance of winning.

Christopher Benjamin has raised $32,078. Alina Salcines Restrepo has raised only $9,510 but has added $40,000 to her campaign in the form of a loan. Scott Janowitz on the other hand has raised only $1,250 and loaned his campaign an extra $500.

Which Group might Janowitz jump into? There are two open seats: Group 4 where Judge Robin Faber is retiring and only one candidate has qualified. Michelle Urbistondo, who has raised $54,150 and loaned her campaign an additional $100,500. There is also Group 12, where Judge Steve Leifman is retiring. Only Mario Corcilli has qualified in that Group and he has raised $43,801 and kicked in an additional $120,000 of his own money.

There are also 15 Incumbent County Court judges and 21 Incumbent Circuit Court judges currently facing no opposition. Judge Christopher Green has drawn one opponent, that being the above-mentioned Rita Maria Baez.

It has also been very quiet in the race for State Attorney where Katherine Fernandez Rundle is still unopposed.


State Attorney Dave Aronberg, of the 15th judicial circuit in Palm Beach County, is not seeking re-election. So far, seven candidates have filed to replace Aronberg but only two have qualified as of today. They include: Forrest Freedman and Craig Williams. Other candidates who have not yet paid the qualifying fee include: Alexcia Cox, Adam Farkas, Gregg Lerman, Rolando Silva, and Samuel Stern.

Also in the 15th Circuit, Public Defender Carey Haughwout is also not running for reelection. Daniel Eisinger has qualified in that race while candidate Adam Frankel has not yet paid his qualifying fee.

In Broweird, State Attorney Harold Pryor and Public Defender Gordon Weekes do not appear to have attracted any opponents.


In the wake of the sudden death of Judge Eric Hendon, the 3rd DCA JNC has scheduled interviews this Friday, April 26, with the following persons:

Donald Barrett

Woody Clermont

Margaret Correoso

Angel Cortinas

Kansas Gooden

Judge Spencer Multack

Judge Joseph Perkins

Judge Thomas Rebull

Judge Daryl Trawick

Judge Robert Watson

Judge Laura Gonzalez-Marques


Monday, April 22, 2024




Welcome to Qualifying Week. Over the next five days, the candidates who have filed to run in their respective Groups in both the Circuit and County Court will need to formally commit by paying their Qualifying Fee. As always, we can expect to see some surprise candidates jumping into races this week. The question for this week is - WHO ARE THE MOST LIKELY CANDIDATES TO DRAW OPPOSITION? 

(nb edited by Rumpole for blog reasons- see below)

But, before we get to the judicial races, the burning question on the mind of all criminal defense attorneys in Miami-Dade County is - will State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle draw a last minute opponent? Or will she win another four-year term come Friday at Noon?

Fernandez Rundle has raised $317,728 and loaned her campaign an additional $170,000 for a war chest of nearly a half-million dollars. To date, she has only spent $14,872 on her campaign. She clearly does not expect to face opposition in 2024.  Ms. Fernandez Rundle turned 74 years old on March 1st and if she serves out another term, from January of 2025 - January of 2029, she will be two months short of her 79th birthday at the end of her next term. There have been recent calls by many members of the Bar for somebody, anybody, to mount a campaign against her. Recent events that have taken place in Fernandez Rundle’s office, which have been discussed on this Blog, have tarnished her long and dedicated reputation of her career of public service in Miami-Dade County. But, nobody owns an elected office in our County and one must continue to prove that they deserve another term from the voters.

On to the judicial races.


A Circuit Court Judge in Florida is currently earning a salary of $191,163. The Florida Legislature approved a raise of 3% meaning Circuit Judges will soon earn $196,898. The Qualifying Fee is 4% of their current salary which comes to $7,646.52

The most vulnerable incumbents likely to face last-minute opposition include one judge who has only raised $34,000 to date, the second lowest total of all candidates for Circuit Court Judge (excepting Jason Bloch) and another who has raised the least amount of money of all candidates with $13,070. She has loaned her campaign an additional $50,000.

Other incumbent judges who have raised less than $75,000 include:

Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan - $65,450

Judge Mindy Glazer - $63,131

Judge Miguel de la O - $71,149

Judge Javier Enriquez - $73,518

Judge Christine Bandin - $63,850

Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez - $70,965

Which incumbent judges have attempted to bullet-proof themselves from a possible opponent:

Leading the fundraising campaign:

Judge Tony Arzola - $237,325

Judge Lisa Walsh - $230,501

Judge Valerie Manno Schurr - $219,405

Judge Vivianne del Rio - $206,296

Also, someone who may be concerned with drawing an opponent, (I’ll let our readers guess why), is Judge Charlie Johnson. Johnson has raised $151,274 and he has kicked in another $200,000 from his own pocket. He leads all incumbent judges with the biggest war chest. By all accounts, Judge Johnson has done a spectacular job on the bench. He was first appointed to the County Court by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010. He was elected without opposition in 2012. He served there for five years until Gov. Rick Scott elevated him to the Circuit Court in 2015. Johnson again ran unopposed in 2018 and we certainly hope he draws no opposition in 2024.


A County Court Judge in Florida is currently earning a salary of $180,616. The Florida Legislature also approved a raise of 3% for County Court Judges meaning they will soon earn $186,034. The Qualifying Fee is also 4% of their current salary which comes to $7,224.64.

Incumbent County Court Judges that would appear to be most vulnerable include a judge first elected in 2012 who has raised only $50,100 and another appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the County Court bench in 2004 who has never faced opposition in three subsequent elections including in 2006, 2012, and 2018 and has raised only $52,850.

Which County Court Incumbent Judge has the largest bank account?

That would be Judge Jacqueline Woodward with $203,410. That amount includes $105,500 of her own funds.  A close second is Judge Lizzet Martinez who has $191,038 in her campaign account which also includes $100,000 of her hard earned money. Finally, is Judge Michael Barket who has $178,268 in the bank including $100,000 of his own money.

If you have a hot tip on a candidate filing, please email The Captain at Captain4Justice@gmail.com.

We will closely follow any breaking news throughout Qualifying Week.


Rumpole says- we do not think it is appropriate to name a judge as a potential target for a challenger based on the low amount of money they have raised. Many judges are very well respected and have  decided not to engage in a lot of fundraising. We do not want to put a target on their back, as, believe it or not,  we actually sympathize with many of them as to the stress of this week and do not want to encourage the "rosies" of the world to come out from under some crack in the wall and diminish the judiciary more than it already has been by the name game of Miami judicial politics. So we edited the post because this is our property and we can. 

Friday, April 19, 2024


 FACDL had this to say about the SAO and all that...

And oh yeah, we are getting reports that our friends at NBC 6 Miami just covered the below press release and asked for the SAO for a response but were told everyone was busy with seeking prison on resisting arrest without violence and NVDL trial because crime is crime and that's the fact jack. It takes a whole bunch of prosecutors to scope out witnesses on a case, get them together to get their stories straight, get them some food and arrange a conjugal visit, and then rush to cover it all up. So it's understandable they could not immediately comment. Ya. 

For Immediate Release 

April 19, 2024

            The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) is appalled by recent and ongoing unethical conduct by the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office, along with retaliatory targeting of criminal defense lawyers.


            In one case, State of Florida v. Corey Smith, Judge Andrea Wolfson issued an order on March 6th, 2024, plainly identifying instances of unethical and potentially illegal conduct by Miami Dade assistant state attorneys. FACDL has been advised that the senior prosecutor subject of that order was allowed to resign with no further consequences. FACDL also has learned that a second prosecutor implicated by Judge Wolfson’s order faced no discipline whatsoever.


            As referenced by Judge Wolfson in her order disqualifying the two assistant state attorneys, it’s apparent that the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office has lost sight of its ethical obligations to the citizens of Miami Dade County and its duty to the rule of law.


            Another case, State of Florida v. Kim Clenney et. al.,the defendants are similarly subject to seemingly unethical conduct. The Defendant Courtney Clenney is charged with second degree murder in a companion case. It would appear to be a straightforward matter on its face. Courtney claims that her stabbing of an abusive boyfriend was justified. The State believes otherwise. Instead of ethically addressing a very serious matter involving a homicide, the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office has allowed one of its assistant state attorneys to run amuck, targeting criminal defense lawyers acting in their function as client advocates and creating a distraction.


            Without a trial date in sight for the homicide, the case has featured a young prosecutor leaking attorney/client communications of the defense to the press. Going further, the same young prosecutor has engineered the arrest of the defendant’s parents. In doing so, this same prosecutor has implicated opposing counsel, respected and longtime defense attorneys, in claimed criminal conduct. The actions of this prosecutor are so far outside the norms of the criminal legal system that it is apparent he is using his State Attorney badge as a sword and not a shield. Worse yet, this conduct has been brought to the attention of his supervisors, and no discipline of any kind has been enforced. The Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office has surpassed mere acquiescence of unethical behavior and is now encouraging it.


            The purported criminal conduct consists of no more than reviewing, in the context of the fact-specific case, possible defense evidence. This is a standard, necessary obligation of the defense lawyer in every case where such evidence may exist. Not doing so would be malpractice.


            Without repercussion, the prosecutor has dug through reams of electronic attorney/client defense communications—conduct worthy of investigation by the Florida Bar and the court.


            Speaking to the courts in pursuit of this tangent, the young prosecutor’s affidavits contain glaring omissions of relevant fact. Specifically, omitting that there was an attorney client relationship between the targets and the attorneys and that all information was gleaned because of the State and law enforcement reading text messages between the defense team and their clients.


            In normal circumstances, more seasoned, managing prosecutors would step in. For reasons that remain unclear, that has not occurred. What does seem clear is that Miami Dade State Attorney has fostered conditions permissive to a toxic culture. As a result, within this culture, prosecutors act contrary to their ethical duties. Ms. Fernandez Rundle’s prosecutors seem to be encouraged to disregard the rules of court and conduct in favor of a “win at all costs” approach. More representative of that culture is the disdain with which the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office apparently views the vital Constitutional function of defense counsel.


            In their most recent filing, the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office plainly accuses two respected criminal defense attorneys of conspiring to commit the very offense with which their clients (Ms. Clenney’s parents) are charged. Specifically, the State is alleging that the act of defense attorneys reviewing material, ignored at their client’s apartment by law enforcement, is, in and of itself, a crime. This position shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the role of a criminal defense lawyer and outright disdain for every citizen’s Sixth Amendment right to effective representation of counsel.


            More disconcertingly, by naming those lawyers and accusing them of a crime in conjunction with discharging their duties, the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office abuses its authority.


            In Florida, charging a person with a crime falls entirely within the purview of the respective State Attorney’s Office. That power is almost wholly unreviewable and must be discharged ethically and with great care. While most state attorneys understand the weight of this authority and act accordingly, the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office seems not to simply overlook but rather condone ongoing misuses of power.


            Readers of Florida legal documents are familiar with the concept that criminal offenses are charged, and potential criminal penalties sought, to protect the “peace and dignity of the State of Florida.” In the case of Ms. Clenney’s parents, charging decisions and resulting arrests have instead been improperly made to protect the ego of a young prosecutor.


            Worse yet, the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office has now doubled-down and is attempting to bully or target the lone check and balance on its power—criminal defense lawyers.


            Ms. Fernandez Rundle’s young assistant has besmirched the names of two of FACDL’s members and all but threatened them with arrest and prosecution. This arrest and prosecution would flow from defense lawyers having the temerity to zealously fulfill their Constitutional roles.


            The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will not tolerate this abuse of their members. The Association, on behalf of its involved members, demands an immediate and formal apology.


            Addressing the citizens facing criminal prosecution: all criminal charges pursued substantially to protect the ego of a young assistant must be dismissed. Further, considering the available facts in both Clenney and Smith, FACDL is calling for the dismissal of the offending prosecutors and a full, independent ethics review within the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office.


For more information contact Luke Newman, FACDL President at luke@lukenewmanlaw.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024




Today, as promised, we bring you the County Court races.


There are a total of 19 County Court Groups up for election in 2024. With 11 days to go, we currently have three judges who are retiring. Group 4, where Incumbent Judge Robin Faber is retiring, has drawn only one candidate. Group 12, where Incumbent Judge Steve Leifman is retiring, that Group has also drawn only one candidate.  In Group 29, where Incumbent Judge Myriam Lehr is retiring, that Group has drawn three candidates including one who is a former Judge who was defeated in the last election. 

There is one Incumbent Judge, recently appointed Judge Christopher Green, who has drawn one opponent in Group 31.

The other 15 groups have Incumbent judges currently facing no opposition.

Group 04 (Judge Robin Faber retiring)

Michelle Marie Urbistondo 
Raised $54,150 Loan $100,500

Ms. Urbistondo has been a member of The Florida Bar for 12 years. She is a solo practitioner who practices in the areas of civil litigation, focusing on real estate transactions, and marital and family law matters.

Group 12 (Judge Steve Leifman retiring)

Mariano Ariel Corcilli
Raised $43,801 Loan $120,000

Mr. Corcilli has been a member of The Florida Bar for 14 years. He is a member of the Military & Veteran Affairs Committee. He devotes a substantial amount of time to our vets. He formerly served in the U.S. Marines attaining the rank of Sergeant. He runs his own law firm where he concentrates on criminal defense and personal injury cases. He is a former ASA.

Group 29 (Judge Myriam Lehr retiring)

Christopher Benjamin
Raised $32,078 ($5,745 from State Rep election account)

Christopher Benjamin has been a member of The Florida Bar for 22 years. He is Of Counsel with International Law Partners, LLP. and a panelist with the ADR firm of Salmon & Dulberg. He works in the areas of general litigation and serves as an arbitrator, mediator, and special magistrate. He has been a certified mediator and arbitrator for 15 years and in 2010 he was appointed as a Hearing Officer in the 11th Judicial Circuit’s Traffic Division where he served until 2020. In 2020 (and again in 2022), he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives to represent the people of  District 107.

Scott Janowitz 
Raised $1,250 Loan $500

Former Judge Scott Janowitz has been a member of The Florida Bar for 18 years. He began his career as an ASA in Broward. He then joined a law firm before getting appointed to the bench by Governor DeSantis in 2020. He ran for election in August of 2022 and lost to current Judge Alicia Priovolos by 60% to 40%.

Alina Salcines Restrepo 
Raised $9,510 Loan $40,000

Alina Restrepo has been a member of The Florida Bar for 24 years. She has worked in a law firm with her brother who is also a lawyer and she has been a solo practitioner as well. She concentrates her practice in the areas of real estate, probate, criminal, civil, traffic, estate planning, and bankruptcy law.

Group 31

Rita Maria Baez 
Raised $9,500 Loan $200,000

Ms. Baez has been a member of The Florida Bar for 28 years. I was unable to locate any information about her other than she may practice personal injury law.

Christopher Green (I)
Raised $48,803 Loan $58,600

Judge Green has been a member of The Florida Bar for 31 years. He was appointed to the County Court bench in December of 2022 by Governor DeSantis.  He currently presides over civil cases in the South Dade Justice Center. This is his first election. Before his appointment, Judge Green was a trial attorney for 30 years with both civil and criminal jury trial experience.  He started his career as an Assistant Public Defender in Miami-Dade County.  For the next 22 years, Judge Green worked as an Assistant City Attorney with the City of Miami City Attorney’s Office litigation division. 

Group 01 Patricia Marino-Pedraza

Group 02 Kristy M. Nunez 

Group 06 Jorge Perez Santiago

Group 10 Diana Gonzalez-Whyte 

Group 14 Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer 

Group 18 Betsy Alvarez-Zane

Group 21 Jacqueline Michelle Woodward 

Group 22 Linda Singer Stein

Group 26 Maria De Fatima Ortiz 

Group 32 Lizzet Martinez 

Group 33 Eleane Sosa-Bruzon 

Group 37 Yara Lorenzo Klukas 

Group 40 Michael George Barket 

Group 41 Larry King 

Group 43 Milena Abreu

We will continue to monitor both the local election office as well as the office in Tallahassee for any group movement by the candidates as well as any new filings over the next 11 days.


Monday, April 15, 2024




On August 20th, voters in Miami-Dade County will head to the polls to elect several new judges in both the Circuit and County Court. As I have for the past 19 years, your Captain will be on top of all of the races, bringing you the breaking news that our readers have come to expect from your humble Blogger. You won’t get this kind of coverage in the Miami Herald, nor the Daily Business Review, the Miami News (now I’m aging myself), or any other local thread. Thanks to Rumpole and the Justice Building Blog our readers know that they will obtain their best election coverage from The Captain.

Today, we bring you the filings from the Circuit Court.


There are a total of 24 Circuit Court Groups up for election in 2024. The deadline for filing is Friday, April 26, 2024. With 11 days to go, we currently have three judges who are retiring. Group 8, where Incumbent Judge David Miller is retiring, has drawn two candidates, and one name should be very familiar to most of our readers as he has been a Judge and ran in two contested elections in the past. In Group 29, where Incumbent Judge Pedro Echarte is retiring, that Group has also drawn two candidates.  In Group 49, Incumbent Judge Terera Pooler is retiring, and only one candidate has filed so far.

The other 21 Groups have Incumbent judges currently facing no opposition.

***In the contested and open races we are providing you with information on how much money the candidates have raised as well as how much they have loaned their individual campaigns.

GROUP 8 (Judge David Miller retiring)

Jason Edward Bloch
Raised $0.00 Loan $575,025

Jason Bloch has been a member of The Florida Bar for 30 years. He spent 20 years working for Miami-Dade County as an Assistant County Attorney. He was appointed to the Circuit Court bench by Governor Rick Scott in 2014. He ran in his first election in 2016 and lost to Judge Marcia del Rey 52% to 48%. He has spent the past seven years working pro bono on legal matters. He ran again for Circuit Court Judge in 2022 against Incumbent Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts. He lost by 1,851 votes out of 262,589 votes; 50.4% to 49.6%.

Bonita Jones-Peabody
Raised  $28,526 Loan $25

Ms. Jones-Peabody has been a member of The Florida Bar for 33 years. She is currently working as an Assistant Public Defender in Miami-Dade County as a supervisory and training attorney. She has been with the office of Carlos Martinez for the past 20 years.

GROUP 29 (Judge Pedro Echarte retiring)

Heloiza Correa
Raised $107,313 Loan $11,000

Ms. Correa has been a member of The Florida Bar for 14 years. She is originally from Brazil. She began her legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County working there for nearly four years. She spent three years working for a law firm before opening up her own law office. She concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, complex business litigation, and construction litigation.

Cristobal David Padron
Raised $2,700 Loan $120,000

Mr. Padron has been a member of The Florida Bar for 12 years. He is a solo practitioner working in the areas of family law, dissolutions of marriage, paternity actions, domestic violence matters, as well as complex civil litigation and appeals.

GROUP 49 (Judge Teresa Pooler retiring)

Marie Elizabeth Mato
Raised $133,884 Loan $10,100

Ms. Mato has been a member of The Florida Bar for 24 years. She has dedicated her entire legal career as an Assistant Sate Attorney in Miami-Dade County where she currently handles the most serious felony cases in the office.

GROUP 2 Ariana Fajardo Orshan

GROUP 13 Jose L Fernandez

GROUP 14 Vivianne del Rio

GROUP 15 Maria Elena Verde

GROUP 24 Mindy S. Glazer

GROUP 25 Yery Marrero

GROUP 31 Carlos Lopez

GROUP 36 Lisa Sharon Walsh

GROUP 42 Miguel M. de la O

GROUP 43 Ellen Sue Venzer

GROUP 47 Maria de Jesus Santovenia

GROUP 53 Jason Emilios Dimitris

GROUP 54 Antonio "Tony" Arzola

GROUP 56 Javier A Enriquez

GROUP 58 Diana Vizcaino

GROUP 61 Christine Bandin

GROUP 66 Lourdes Simon

GROUP 68 Victoria del Pino

GROUP 71 Charlie Johnson

GROUP 78 Valerie R. Manno Schurr

GROUP 80 Marisa Tinkler Mendez

We will monitor both the local election office as well as the office in Tallahassee for any Group movement by the candidates as well as any new filings over the next 11 days.



Wednesday, April 10, 2024


 There is a "happy hour" sponsored by the Dade County Bar Association on April 11. 

Here are all the reasons you should not go. 

1. There will be civil lawyers present. 

2. They will probably be drinking white wine spritzers. nuff said, right? But if you're still considering....

3. Their war stories are always something like "Then during summary judgement they forgot I had an affidavit from the insurer indemnifying my client ...." as which point all the civil drones listening say something like "Are you kidding me? I would have love to seen what Judge Monica-Beth Gonzalez-Schwartz-Sanchez-Goldstein said when you dropped that on them!!!!!" 

4. They will endlessly complain about having to wait to use a Tesla supercharger. "I liked it better when I was the only one in my neighborhood who had a Tesla. Now everyone has one."

5. They will want to show you pictures from their phone of their Italy trip last summer. "Here we are getting Pizza in Rome. Isn't my youngest cute? And here we are at the famous steps and when my wife learned we had to walk up them she told us to go without her..." 

6. They will say things like "So I bought Bitcoin when it was fifty dollars and I have 20 coins. How many do you have and I'm thinking of selling my Apple stock that I bought at 30 three years ago and buying Eth. How much Eth do you have?" 

7. At which point they will say "Did I tell you about the summary judgment motion I won last week?"

8.  Did we mention this event will be populated by civil lawyers? 

9. And as you walk away from the ignoramus with the Tesla and Bitcoin you will stumble into a covenant of civil lawyers and one will be saying "So I turned down the 1.4 million offer and said see you at trial and like an hour later their insurance lawyer started blowing up my phone..." 

10. Most of the food most likely will be gluten free vegan crapola. Our whole generation was raised on gluten and we all seem to be doing just fine. 

So do not go. But if you must then....

But wait! We have another reason... 

11) Qualification season is upon us, and as the weeks dwindle down, your favourite judge up for reelection cannot resist an event with lawyers and free food, so not only will you have to endure civil lawyers, but judges hunting for donations. 

You have been warned. 

RSVP here and tell them that under no circumstances will we be attending so the bourbon is safe. 


Monday, April 08, 2024


 Because baseball matters. On 4/8/1974 Henry Aaron hit home run number 715 passing George Herman Babe Ruth as the all time home run leader. 

Aaron's life was threatened. He was called disgusting names. His family was also threatened. Because he was a black man breaking the most hallowed record in sports. 

This was in 1974- during our lifetime. Fifty years ago this Monday. In the United States of America a black man's life was threatened because he had the temerity to hit more home runs than anyone else in our national pastime. 

Something to think about. 

Here's the video. 

Saturday, April 06, 2024


 We came across this wonderful article on Judge Illana Diamond Rovner, the first woman on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Appointed by Ronald Wilson Reagan, she is everything a great judge should be. She has an amazing life story starting with her parents fleeing the Nazis six weeks after she was born in 1938. Her father was able to immigrate from Latvia and save his family's life. This was back when the United States was a beacon of freedom to the world and immigration was not a dirty word. (And yes we are well aware of the abject failures of the Roosevelt administration to do more to allow more people fleeing Nazism into the United States, but we can celebrate the success of this immigrant Judge). 

We recommend you read the article. Particularly striking is her recollection of her and two other women sitting in the first row of law school at Georgetown and the idiot professor telling them on the first day of class that he wore a black armband when women were admitted and he would not be calling on any of them. Or her experiences being a supervisor in the Department of "Justice" and male colleagues walking out because they would not accept being supervised by a woman. 

This all happened in our lifetime. This is not 100 years ago.  It  was a time before Starbucks and IG and Door Dash so we get that the 30 something DeSantis judges cannot relate to her experience- especially being a dirty foreign female immigrant and all.* But like it or not we are all sitting in the shade of an oak tree from acorns that Judge Illana Diamond Rovner planted. And we are all better off for it. 

 We do not condone this language. We use it to show how the presidential candidate of the same party as Ronald Reagan who at least 40%-45% of the American Public plan on supporting speaks about immigrants and immigration. Because in their world the next Judge Diamond Rovner cannot come from Mexico or Nicaragua or Honduras. In fact, just spit balling here, but if they had a chance to vote on banning any person not born in the United States from being a judge, is there any doubt in your mind they would do so and the DeSantis- Maga-Federalist Society idiots would all jump on board? 

And yes we call the federalist society a bunch of idiots because we were there when it was formed and we know that the foundation of the group was based on certain philosophical and epistemological principles like what is a right and where does it come from that these fed-soc puppies with their tongues hanging out have never read or even heard about. They just want to be told to sit up, give their paw, be patted on the head and made a judge. It makes us sick.   

Thursday, April 04, 2024


 The start of baseball season reminds us that you can't tell the players without a programme. 

Springtime turns a young ASAs thoughts to promotion or that job at the insurance company defense firm paying 125K to start. 

Herewith we (no altruists us) provide you our readers the latest update of the SAO division assignments. 

For some reason we cannot find Michael Von Zamft's new assignment. Hmm...may have to check further on that. 

MISDEMEANOR DIVISION (Motto: "Wrecking the future of poor people one misdemeanor conviction at a time."  

Misd Division Assignments 2-19-24 by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd


 FELONY DIVISION (Motto "Nothing better than offering five years prison for resisting with violence")

Felony Division Lawyers March 24 by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Monday, April 01, 2024


 As we start the new month of April, we have some updates on courthouses. 

As the new civil courthouse rises, so does the anticipation of what it will be, including the amenities. Today we learned some inside information about the new civil courthouse, including ....

There will be a food court and besides Chick-fil-A and a Cuban Cafe, such high-end eateries like Prime 112 (they have a great kobe beef hot dog)  and a high-end lunch restaurant run by famed chef Thomas Keller, he of French Laundry fame, who runs an "impossible to get into" restaurant at the Surf Club- tentatively to be called "The Verdict".  Also in the works is a "judges only" Nobu sushi restaurant on one of the tops floors, along with what is being called a "luxury" gym and spa requiring paid memberships.  Now your favourite judge can deny your motion for summary judgment,  bounce upstairs and hop on a Peloton before eating a half a sushi roll at Nobu because they are all on Ozempic like everyone else. 

Not to be out done, the REGJB downstairs will be getting a ...brace yourself...Whole Foods!!!! Including a juice bar and soup and salad bar. Healthy eating is apparently in these days. Tentative opening date is one year from today 4/1/2025. 


And finally, word comes that the Hard Rock sports betting app- which is the only legal sports betting in Florida,  is now expanding to cover bets on the upcoming judicial races as well as trials. You like the defense in an upcoming DUI trial? Check the app and see if you can get a not guilty at +140 (bet 100 to win 140). Word is some enterprising lawyers approached the Hard Rock and got them to book the bets with the lawyers setting the odds and splitting the wins and losses. 

The big bets will naturally be on the upcoming Trump trials. Right now the only odds are for the case in NYC and the odds against a full acquittal (the defendant is charged in over 30 counts) are over 50-1 meaning the bookmakers are calling a total not guilty a big long shot. To bet on a conviction on any count is -680 meaning you have to bet 680 to win 100, which means the prosecution is a serious favorite in this case. 

Those are your courthouse updates for today, enjoy.