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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Sunday, January 15, 2017

THIS TIME NEXT WEEK

The 45th President of the United States will be in the White House.




Enjoy your day off. 

BTW, We kinda like the Packers with the points today. 

Jai Guru Dev. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

VETERANS COURT KICK-OFF TODAY


New Veterans Court cuts the ribbon TODAY- Friday- Courtroom 4-1 at 11:30. 

Judge Tinkler-Mendez will preside over the new court. 

REGJB Old Timers know that Miami was the First In The Nation to start a Drug Court- trivia- name the late Judge who founded drug court (hint- he was an old motocycle cop before becoming a lawyer). UPDATE- All answers in comments are correct. The great Stanley Goldstein. 

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from two-decades of war, only to find no parades, and not many people who understand their problems. This is a good start. Well done. 

See you in court. 



Monday, January 09, 2017

SO NOW YOU'RE A JUDGE IN CRIMINAL COURT

So now you're a judge in criminal court. You drew the short straw in the New Year judicial rotation and ended up at the confluence of NW 12th Street and 12th Avenue; just a stone's throw from the Miami River. 
You've decorated your chambers, entered the phone numbers into your cell phone, found your parking spot, frowned at the dearth of good lunch places nearby. 

Now what?  A few helpful hints. 

1. The REGJB opened in 1962 and has been full of judges ever since. It will be full of judges long after you leave. You are not indispensable. Anybody can deny a motion to suppress, deny a continuance, deny an objection, read the jury instruction on reasonable doubt, tally up and impose a maximum sentence, and come down from the bench like Moses off the mountain, robes flowing, and graciously hand jurors a certificate of thanks. You can and will be replaced and life will go on without your brilliant legal insights. So just try and do the best you can for the people who appear in court. 

2. You're the Judge. You make the call. You can call your friends, the administrative judges, or whomever about WHAT an arthur hearing is, but you can't call them to ask what you should do. You wanted the job, you make the call. It's not fair to the parties to have another judge, who didn't hear the evidence, make the decision. 

3. When a lawyer asks for a continuance because they are going away, do not show your ignorance as a trial lawyer by asking when they are coming back and setting the trial for the next day. It takes a lot to get a case ready for trial, and no one wants to spend their vacation worrying about the trial set to begin the day after they come back. 

4. The prosecution is not always right. And when they are wrong, innocent lives are ruined. Never forget that. When the job seems mundane and it's just another boring burglary trial of  GORT/PERP who did it- and you make that call before the case begins- it's time to transfer to family or civil. 

5. No matter how good you were, it's not your case. It's the lawyer's case. Let her try it. 

6. No infant is born to parents who dream of him committing a crime. No child in kindergarten says they want to grow up to be a drug dealer or burglar or thief.  We don't live in a fair world. The universe is indifferent. But behind the veneer of a defendant is a person with hopes and dreams. Most people are redeemable. 

7. Before you sentence someone to prison, go to a prison. The great (and now former) Federal Judge John Gleeson took his staff every year to Danbury prison to see the effect on the people he sentenced. 
We can't think of one judge in Florida who does that on a regular basis. 

8. Don't revel in minimum mandatory sentences. All that means is that the Florida Legislature decided that the 24 year old prosecutor who has been in court all of six months has more wisdom about what should happen to the defendant that you do. Sucks if you really think about it. 

9. One of the very best judges to ever grace the halls of the REGJB- USDC Judge Federico Moreno once sentenced a defendant below the guidelines on a murder (might have been a manslaughter) case AFTER trial. Because that's what the facts called for. Losing a trial does not mean a defendant gets punished for going to trial. Being a tough sentencer does not mean you will work less- although judges have been buying into that faulty thinking for decades now. And do you really want to frighten an innocent person into pleading guilty? Is that why you became a judge? 

10. The only reputation you will develop when you start voir dire at 3, openings at 6, and testimony at 7 is that you're an idiot. Jurors will hate you, and the defendant will not get a fair trial. People will not whisper behind your back "that judge is amazing...s/he tried a case until midnight yesterday." What they will do is repeat what you did with the words "ass"; "jerk"; "idiot"; "big-ego"; "robe-its" and such.  

11. When the job is no longer fun, quit. 

12. Change is the price of survival.

Go forth and do good. Do justice. Be wise. Be fair. Be nice. Read the motions you get. Have fun. 

See you in court.  


Sunday, January 08, 2017

DOLPHINS PLAYOFF GAME TODAY!

It was a good season for our Fins. Maybe it ends today, but they are playing a team they beat handily a few months ago, so....anything can happen in playoff football.

Lots of rumors flying around about who will be US Attorney in the SDFLA... but as of yet, no facts. 

Does the US Attorney resign January 20? Or do they just keep plugging on until Washington acts? 

Ten words Donald Trump WILL Say during his inaugural speech:

10.Taxes
9. Defense
8. Terrorist 
7. America
6. Trade
5. Congress
4. Freedom
3. Oil & Gas
2. Ronald Reagan
1. Donald Trump


Ten Words Trump Will NOT say during his speech:

10. Civil rights
9. Education
8. Global Warming
7. Ecology
6. Arts
5. Love
4. Martin Luther King
3. Intelligence
2. Reason
1. Justice Building Blog

Friday, January 06, 2017

WHO SHOULD BE US ATTORNEY

DOM scooped the Miami media and blogasphere by reporting about Judge Ungaro being in the running to be the next US Attorney for the SDFla. 

Be that as it may, who should the next president pick? 

The US Attorney oversees an office that does much more than file illegal re-entry after deportation cases. 

The Southern District runs from North of West Palm to Key West. One overlooked area of prosecution is the federal protection of Florida's irreplaceable reefs and wetlands. When was the last time you heard of the US Attorneys office bringing an ecological crimes case or investigating such crimes? 

What about forfeitures? The government's avarice in grabbing money and land from citizens is reaching frightening new heights. 

Do we want a US Attorney with a strong civil or criminal background? 

Would a judge- any judge- bring a different perspective?  How about Judge Williams? The former federal PD- what kind of perspective would she bring? 

And while we're on the subject, is it time for a change in State court? 

First weekend of the new year brings the Fins in a road playoff game with a decimated secondary facing a high-powered passing offense. With a back-up QB, this could be a tough game. What does our 2016 NFL Survivor Pool champ Lucy Lew have to say? Maybe she'll give us a tip. 

Enjoy the first of your 52 2017 weekends. For those of you in court this week- fear not. Statistics show that most New Year's resolutions are broken in January. In another week or two the gung-ho attitudes of Judges and ASAs should fade into the dreary workload they shoulder everyday. 

Big snow dump on us here out in Tahoe. Lucky to have power. 


37 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training (as Judge Hirsch would tell you). 
Image result for baseball player icon
See you in court. 





Wednesday, January 04, 2017

IS IT THE U?

DOM, in a scooping mode, breaks the story that USDJ (and former REGJB Miami Circuit Court Judge) Ursula Ungaro is being considered to be US Attorney!!

We can think of one former Dade Circuit Judge who became US Attorney- the sui generis career of Tom Scott.

Scott was a circuit court judge, a US District Court judge, US Attorney for the Southern District Of Florida, and he also worked the door at Joes for a period of time (not true). 

Of course, considering the soon to be POTUS, the new US attorney could be one of the guys at the door at Joes.... Eddie has taken care of us for the last few years at Joes. He would be a fine choice. 

DOM opined that Ungaro would "whip that office into shape". Cheap shot at the current USAO? 

See you in court. 

YOUNG V.20

(Updated with a hot fed rumor below)
David Young is back on the bench! 

And he is really really excited about it and wants everyone to know how happy he is to be back. 



We've been thinking about other Judges who have voluntarily resigned and then gotten their position back. 

The only name that comes to mind is Judge Joe Farina. He left the bench, returned and then had a good run as chief of criminal court and then Chief Judge. 

FED RUMOR
When compared to our humble REGJB, the feds rumor mill is downright G rated. But then everyone's favourite federal blogger dropped this rumor in his first working day post of 2017 imaginatively entitled "2017!" : 
Speaking of District Judges, there is a rumor going around that one of our own DJs is interested in the new U.S. Attorney slot.  Anyone else hearing this?

Considering DOM spent part of the holidays photo bombing and taking selfies with the President Elect of the United States on Trump's private golf course in Jupiter (belying his image as a defense attorney of the proletariat) , he would appear to know something about this.

This is a juicy one. Any ideas?

See you in court.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

THE 12% SOLUTION

How about some heartwarming and uplifting news to start the new year? 

Sorry, we don't have any. But we have this: 12% of the available federal judge positions are vacant and eligible for President Elect Trump to fill: 

By the time Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20, there will be more than 100 vacant judgeships across the federal courts. Trump can begin to name nominees for those seats once he takes office — the number of vacancies equals about 12 percent of all active federal judgeships, far more than Presidents George W. Bush or Obama had to fill at the start of their presidencies.
It’s an immediate opportunity for Trump to leave a legacy that would last for decades, and one that Republicans don’t want him to squander.
“A very large number of those circuit courts of appeals flipped during the Obama years, and certainly from the conservatives’ perspective it would be nice to flip some or all of those back,” said John Malcolm, director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That’s going to take time. President Obama had eight years.”

It would be nice if our very own Mary Barzee would be one of those appointments, but don't hold your breath. 

See you in court.