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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

LOOK AT THE ECLIPSE PART TWO

The Eclipse continues to affect America and Americans, including one frustrated FBI agent as this order written by US District Court Judge Merryday illustrates in a very Judge"Milt Hirschish" way. 
Meanwhile, you thought our post the other day about President Trump telling people it was OK to look at the eclipse was a parody? Ahh...the truth is stranger than the presidency. See below.



Eclipse Order by Rumpole21 on Scribd
   

We told you the President said it was OK to look at the eclipse. At least he put his money where his eyes were:


And the NY Times reported on the story we broke, here- that the President looked at the eclipse and urged all americans to do the same. 

This blog knows more about the War in Afghanistan than the generals, and knows more about POTUS 45 than POTUS 45. 

From Occupied America, where freedom is being eclipsed, Fight the blind power!

Monday, August 21, 2017

JUDGE RODRIGUEZ-CHOMAT HAS PASSED AWAY

Judge Rodriguez-Chomat, who spent about a decade on the bench at the REGJB has passed away. 

We didn't know him very well, but his reputation was one of a kind, caring, and decent man and dedicated Judge. 

Like so many of his colleagues on the Miami bench, Judge Rodriguez-Chomat's story is one of an immigrant from Cuba whose family came here seeking a better life. 


Here is the Herald obit, which recalled the contretemps that erupted when he gave a defendant thirty days for giving him the finger during bond hearings. Here's the well superbly written post in which we reported on the incident. 

The Funeral is Tuesday.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

STARE AT THE ECLIPSE

And other sayings from our President. 

"Stare at the eclipse. Only Obama-care doctors say you can't watch the eclipse. People have been watching eclipses since they were walking with dinosaurs and you never hear any of them went blind.So stare at the eclipse and enjoy."

"Nazis are people too. Americans." 

"We spend all this money on nuclear weapons and don't use them. What good are they? Harry Truman used nuclear weapons. Great American Republican President. He had the right idea."

"Robert E. Lee was a Republican. So was Stonewall Jackson. That's why the Obama crowd wants to take down their statutes."

"Lincoln didn't believe in global warming. Neither did Patton. Neither do I."

"Exercise is bad for you." 









Monday, August 14, 2017

SAY HELLO TO JUDGES MANSFIELD AND FRANCIS .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOUR TWO NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGES ARE:

JOSEPH MANSFIELD, Age 52.  Joe has served as an ASA since 2001.  He fills the vacancy created by Judge Victoria del Pino who was elevated to the Circuit Court.

RENATHA FRANCIS, Age 39. She is currently with Shutts & Bowen. She was previously employed by the First DCA as an attorney to Judge Scott Makar, a staff attorney, and a law clerk to Judge Peter Webster. She fills the vacancy created when Judge Jason Dimitris was elevated to the Circuit Court.

CAPTAIN OUT .....
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

FIVE NEW JUDGES COMING TO A COURTROM NEAR YOU ......


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOUR NEXT CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE ......

Will be selected by Governor Rick Scott from among the below names. With the elevation of Judge Norma Lindsey to the 3rd DCA and the retirement of Judge Gisela Cardonne Ely, there are two open seats on the Circuit Court. The Eleventh Circuit JNC has met and nominated a total of 12 names to the Governor - he will choose two of those as our next Circuit Court Judges.

Judge William Altfield
Alex Spicola Bokor
Judge Tanya Brinkley
Raul Cuervo
Judge Ivonne Cuesta
Ayana Harris
Carlos Lopez
Joseph Mansfield
Judge Spencer Multack
Laura Stuzin
Luis Perez-Medina
Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson

AND YOUR NEXT COUNTY COURT JUDGE ....

Will be selected by Governor Scott from among the below names. With the elevation of County Court Judges Victoria del Pino and Jason Dimitris, there are two open seats on the County Court. Governor Scott has had 12 nominee names on his desk since June 16th and he is expected to name two new Judges on Friday, August 11th, or at the latest by early next week.

Milena Abreu
Ramiro Areces
Karl S.H. Brown
Christina DiRaimondo
Renatha Francis
Peter Heller
Elijah Levitt
Joseph Mansfield
Luis Perez-Medina
Gordon Murray, Sr
Julie Harris Nelson
Steve Paulson

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A COUNTY COURT JUDGE .....

With the elevation of Judge Lourdes Simon to the Circuit Court, the JNC is now accepting applications for an open seat on the County Court. Please make sure to get your application filed before the deadline of August 24, 2017 to JNC Chair Luis Suarez, (lsuarez@bsfllp.com).

For those of you wanting to predict the five names that Governor Scott will choose, lay your money on any of the nominees that have been an ASA or AUSA or government paid lawyer. Just within the past eight weeks Governor Scott has continued his MO of appointing judges that are both young, and are former government employees. For example, since mid June he has appointed seven new judges including General Master and Judicial Hearing Officer Kristine Van Vorst, 40, to the Alachua County Court; Jamie Grosshans, 38, former ASA, to the Orange County Court; Judge Jennifer Gabbard, 45, former ASA, to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court; Judge Charles Sniffen, 44, former ASA, to the 12th Judicial Circuit Court; James Goodman Jr, 38, former ASA, to the 14th Judicial Circuit Court; and Darren Farfante, 46, former Justice Dept attorney, to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court.  Finally, was his recent appointment of Judge Lourdes Simon, a former Assistant Public Defender.

CAPTAIN OUT .....
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

Monday, August 07, 2017

REMEMBERING AN REGJB LEGEND

He was a US Marine. 
He fought in Korea at the infamous and hellish Chosin Reservoir battle against the Chinese in the brutal korean winter of 1950. 
He was a prolific author of pulp-fiction short stories. 
He knew his way around a bar and a courtroom and he had clients lining up top hire him. No checks please. Just cash. 
Every client was "a poor innocent child" upon which disaster had fallen. 
If he liked you, he added "darling" to your name when he saw you. 
Clients with multiple arrests while on bond were, to him, "a clear pattern of police harassment." 
His arms were often splayed out as he pled his case.
He tried at least a case a week for probably forty years, maybe more.  
He was an REGJB original and his likes will not again be seen in our building. 
He died today, August 7, in 2007 and it doesn't seem like he has been gone ten years. 
Rest in peace old friend Sy Gaer.

Here's the link to the great article about Sy by the former herald ace Susannah Nesmith. It's worth a second read. 




Saturday, August 05, 2017

RUMPOLE AT REST


Talk amongst yourselves quietly and nicely.

From free Europe, where Global Warming is real, fight the heat and the power!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

FAMILY COURTHOUSE (LAWSON COURTHOUSE CENTER) CLOSED TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY

The Lawson Courthouse will remain closed Wednesday. Kindly continue reading. 

It rained in Miami this week. Which means, naturally, that one of our courthouses flooded. But it wasn't the asbestos addled  dinosaur at 73 West Flagler Street (Motto: "A support beam in every courtroom obstructing your view since 1935"), but one of our newer courthouses- the Family Law center where everyday divorces and domestic violence injunctions are bandied about like so much hoo-haa. 

So what does this mean for you, you may ask? 
Carry an umbrella, replies Rumpole. 
And read this email and govern yourself accordingly: 


The Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, located at 175 NW 1st Avenue, was evacuated and closed on Tuesday afternoon, August 1st, due to flooding from a roof drain impacted by significant rain. The building will remain closed on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, for repairs.

All hearings scheduled for Wednesday, August 2nd, will be re-scheduled and parties will be notified accordingly.

What you may ask, could even be more bad news that that? Steady yourself.

The clerk's office on the 9th floor has ....REMOVED the copy machine. No soup for you. No copies of a-forms and discovery and such for you. 

But Rumpole, you may ask, doesn't this mean that the files will be available on-line? 

Surely you jest dear reader.  Stop reading fake news. The clerk's office just upgraded their dial-up modem for AOL, although it's still powered by a couple of gerbils on a wheel in a cage. And monitored by a guy named "Al". 

From Occupied America, where Miami Beach floods when it rains, but sea levels aren't rising, and the globe isn't warmer, and part of the Antarctic ice-shelf  didn't recently break away, carry and umbrella and Fight The Power!




Monday, July 31, 2017

THE KOBAYASHI MARU

UPDATE: The mooch is out!
Rumpole says: "Well, that was fast." 

DUI BRADY-MARIJUANA: There's a good letter on the  JAAB broward blog from a Broward toxicologist about the presence of marijuana in urine in a DUI case. Toxicologists cannot determine the date of use, much less when -if ever- an individual was under the influence of marijuana based solely on the presence of a THC metabolite. 
It's interesting to note that the toxicologist, a prosecution witness, sent an email to the defense attorney only, because he couldn't locate who the ASA was. 
Gotta love Broweird. 

DOM highlights Chief Judge Carne's opinion and epic put down of the argument of appellant Little: "Little's logic lacks luster."  Ouch, but such is the life of appellate lawyers who attack child-porn convictions. Fight the power. 

KOBAYASHI MARU SCENARIO
You gotta love guys who, if they're losing, change the rules. As a Starfleet cadet, James T. Kirk became the only cadet to beat the Kobayashi Maru scenario by hacking the simulator and changing the rules. "I don't believe in no-win scenarios" said Kirk, and neither do we.  It has an application for what we do as trial lawyers.  

Adrian Beltre, who just joined the 3,000 hit club, was Kirk-like the other night.  And even after 50 some odd years of watching, we can always see something new, which we did with Beltre. 

Friday night Beltre, who was on deck, was in the spot he likes to stand, so he can see the pitcher. Problem was, it wasn't where the on-deck circle was. The umpire ordered Beltre into the on-deck circle, but Beltre had other ideas. See the video below. Beltre fought the power, and for that he gets a Rumpolian Well done! Well done indeed



Saturday, July 29, 2017

The S in Harry

Item: A speech by the president of the United States, to law enforcement officers: 

"Don't be too nice...these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you see them being thrown in, rough, I said "Please don't be too nice..." 

Item: The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution Of the United States: 
"No person shall...be deprived of life, liberty, property, without due process of law..." 

On Friday, July 28, 2017, the 46th president of the United States encouraged law enforcement officers to brutalize suspects arrested in a criminal case. 


Item: July 26, 1948, President Harry S Truman signs executive order 9981 desegregating the armed forces of the United States of America. 

Item: July 26, 2017, President Donald J Trump tweets that transgender individuals are barred from service in the United States Armed Forces. 


From Occupied America, where we are one of the very few people who know what the "S" in President Truman's name stands for without googling it, Fight the Power!



Thursday, July 27, 2017

FAN/NOT A FAN

Mary Barzee-Flores for Congress: Big fan.  Her website is here. Donate. Sign up. Fight the power. 

Uber tipping: Not a fan.

Instacart: Big Fan. 

Removing AG Jeff Sessions: Not a fan.

AG Jeff Sessions: Not a fan.

Artificial sweeteners/
Diet Colas: Not a fan

USS Gerald R Ford: Fan

Dunkirk The Movie: Big Fan

Movie Popcorn: Not a Fan

Dunkirk: Big Fan

Al Franken Book: Giant of the Senate: Big Fan

Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, et al. Not a Fan.

Satellite Radio: Fan





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

THE FALL

DOM's blog has coverage of the  untimely and tragic death of Miami Appellate Lawyer Richard Strafer.

We didn't know Mr. Strafer, so comments and memories should be directed to DOM's blog. 

Mr. Strafer's death- apparently from a virus contracted on a cruise- causes us to reflect on the fragility and seemingly unpredictability of life. 

Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity. 

Hamlet, Act I, scene 2. 

That we shall die we know; 'tis but the time
And drawing days out, that men stand upon.  
Julius Caesar, Act III, scene 1.

For us, such talk from The Bard brings us back to a long forgotten but wonderful movie- The Lion In Winter, circa 1968. 

When King Richard the Lionheart (played by a young Anthony Hopkins in his first major film role)  and his brother Geoffrey, in prison, hear the footsteps of their captor King Henry coming to kill them, Richard says "He's here. But he will get no satisfaction out of me. He isn't going to see me beg."

To which Geoffrey replies: "You chivalric fool, as if the way one fell down mattered."

To which Richard replies: 
"When the fall is all that is left, it matters greatly."  

Life is, in a way, about confronting the fall we all inevitably face. Sometimes the fall announces its presence- cancer, heart disease or the like. Sometimes the fall strikes when we least expect it- like on a cruise in Europe. 

As lawyers, our clients face the fall in court. A trial, in many ways, is a client saying like Richard the Lionheart that when all that's left is the fall, how you face it matters greatly. 

In that sense, unlike those who are artists, or handle closings, or are CPAs, we as attorneys in criminal court- prosecutors and defense alike- become all too familiar with the fall. 

We win, we lose, we get a new case where someone has been killed. Everywhere we look, there is the fall. And then it strikes our colleague unexpectedly. 

Sometimes, you just want to have a quiet day, review some docs, sign your name and go home. 

From Occupied America, where such concerns about dignity "fall" (pun intended) upon deaf ears of the president, Fight the Power, because the fall matters greatly. 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

YOU'RE GO ON THAT 1202 ALARM

If you're a space nerd, like we are, then you are very familiar with the 1201 and 1202 alarms that Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Pilot Dr. Buzz Aldrin encountered about 5200 feet above the Lunar surface on July 20, 1969. 

Apollo is what makes America great. We are the only country to make Humankind's greatest leap from our planet to the stars. And if we can do that, then there isn't anything- pollution, global warming, disease, hunger, poverty, traffic on U.S 1 in the mornings- that we cannot solve. America doesn't need to be great again. We've always been great. 

5200 feet above the moon, Neil Armstrong, seeing only large boulders and enormous craters in his landing path, took controls of The Eagle. A team of American scientists and engineers had his back. Thousands of hours of simulations and planning for everything that could go wrong came into play. Loss of signal from Houston? Back up-plans in place. Loss of landing engine- abort button firing ascent engine was ready to go. Every possible contingency had been planned for and simulated. 

Except a 1202 alarm. And of course, that's what occurred. 

Here's how it all went down 48 years ago this past week in July, and why two American heroes- one whose name is known to all of humanity, and one whose name is not, saved the day and allowed us to land on the moon. 

The Dramatis Personae  are Astronaut Charlie Duke-  Cap-Com at Houston- the astronaut who was communicating with the Eagle. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in the Eagle with Michael Collins orbiting above the moon in Colombia. And a twenty-four year old unknown engineer named Jack Garman. Times are in mission elapsed time. Much of the discussion is the loss of communications between Houston and the Eagle, with Houston telling Collins on Colombia how to move various antennae to help Houston acquire the Eagle. So at 04 06 28 22 (read 4 days, 6 hours, 28 min and 22 seconds into the mission) Houston tells Colombia that the Eagle is "GO FOR PDI" and that they've lost communication with the Eagle. PDI is Powered Descent Initiation- the command for Armstrong to fire his descent engine and drop the Eagle out of Lunar orbit. Collins tells the Eagle they are go for PDI. 

04 06 34 24 Eagle: descent looks good. 

04 06 36 18- Eagle:  Our position checks downrage shows us to be a little long. (Armstrong is noticing that their computer is taking them on a descent path that will be beyond their anticipated landing area. At this moment he is just monitoring the situation.) 

04 06 37 18 Houston: Eagle, Houston, you are GO to continue powered descent. 

Now, the first problem occurs...

04 06 38 26 Eagle: PROGRAM ALARM...it's a 1202

Twenty two seconds later, an eternity as the Eagle is plummeting towards the lunar surface-  totally unfamiliar with that alarm and having never trained for it or seen it or handled it in a simulation, Armstrong and Aldrin  ask Houston for a status report on the alarm: 
04 06 38 48 Eagle: Give us a reading on the 1202 Program Alarm. 

04 06 38 53 Houston: We got...We're GO on that Alarm. 

What happened in those twenty-two seconds that saved the moon landing? Everything. 

Enter Jack Garman, a twenty-four year old engineer who saved Apollo 11.  Garman was hired at age 21 by NASA and worked with the MIT team that built the guidance systems.  Legendary Flight Director Gene Kranz, famous for his "failure is not an option" credo, had instructed Garman during training to write down every possible error code with the computer guidance systems, which Garman did. 
A complicated set of facts explains why the alarm occurred. Basically the on-board radar and the on-board guidance computer were powered at the same moment and didn't go into an aligned phase which caused the computer to divert about 15% of its resources dealing with about 12,800 interrupt requests per second- which in turn caused the guidance computer to run behind on its other tasks. When the backup exceeded limits, the computer issued an alarm which essentially said it was running behind. 

Garman recognized the problem and told Steve Bales, who was Guidance Officer that the computer could be relied upon if the alarms weren't continuous. Bales now had to decide if he could trust Garman, which he did and gave the GO to Krantz. As Flight Director, Gene Krantz then had to decide if he could trust Bales- his guidance officer- which he did. And twenty-two seconds after the 1202 alarm Krantz gave the GO to continue which Charlie Duke communicated to Armstrong and Aldrin. 

Garman was later given an award by NASA. Bales, his boss recalled: "Jack had memorized these things (alarm codes) and said 'that's okay' even before I could even remember which group it was in. His quick reactions and in-depth knowledge led others on his team to nickname him 'Gar-Flash' ". 

Jack Garman, a true American Hero, worked at NASA until 2000 and died in 2016. His name is not often mentioned in the history of the Moon Landing, but there would never have been a landing on the moon in July, 1969 without Jack Garman. 

Having received a GO on the 1202 and subsequent 1201 alarms, Armstrong takes control of the Eagle and now, running low on fuel, looks for a place to land. 

04 06 42 10 Houston: Eagle, Houston, you're GO for landing. 

04 06 42 17 Eagle: Understand. GO for landing. 3000 feet. PROGRAM ALARM ...1201

They get a similar alarm  but Houston is now ready  and eight seconds later gives the Eagle the GO on that alarm:
04 06 42 25 Houston: Roger. 1201 Alarm. We're GO. Same type. We're GO. 

Fast forward about a minute and half, and now the second emergency is beginning to occur, and only the skill of the greatest pilot in the world at that moment- Neil Armstrong- could save the space program. 100 feet off the lunar surface, and still hunting for a clean landing spot, Houston tells Armstrong he has only 60 seconds of fuel left:

04 06 44 45 Eagle: 100 feet, 3 1/2 down, 9 forward. 

04 06 45 02 Houston: 60 seconds. (This is Charlie Duke telling The Eagle they have only a minute of fuel left and if they don't land it they have to abort).

04 06 45 21 Eagle:  (this is Aldrin calling out the altitude and movement while Armstrong concentrates on landing the Eagle)  30 Feet, 2 1/2 down, faint shadow. 

04 06 45 31 Houston: 30 seconds

Thirty feet off the ground- 30 seconds of fuel. One problem never before faced in the history of humanity:  trying to land on another planet and running out of fuel (relax- we know that the moon is technically not a planet, but you get the idea). 

One Problem. One American Hero. Nine seconds later- Problem solved. 

04 06 45 34 Eagle:  CONTACT LIGHT...Okay. ENGINE STOP. .. ACA out of DESCENT...MODE CONTROL both to AUTO. DESCENT ENGINE COMMAND OVERRIDE OFF. ENGINE ARM- OFF. 

Armstrong and Aldrin had a check list to run through to power down their craft so that they didn't mistakenly take off before they were ready to. Charlie Duke in Houston is anxious...

04 06 45 57 Houston: We copy you down, Eagle. 

And now, perhaps, the greatest words in the history of humanity, announcing our greatest achievement as a human race: 

04 06 45 59 Eagle: Houston, Tranquility Base here...

04 06 46 04 Eagle: THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!

If you've ever wondered about Charlie Duke's strange reply to Armstrong and Aldrin in which he congratulates them and tells them that they had "a bunch of guys about to turn blue down here" it's Duke's reference to the drama of the landing, the Eagle only having thirty seconds of fuel, and everyone holding their breath. 

It's a uniquely American comment during  A uniquely American moment.  A combination of training, expertise, camaraderie and humor all wrapped up in arguably the moment of the greatest achievement of humanity (excepting of course the current launch of Pokemon Go 2.0).  

It's why America was and is great and doesn't need some bloated, ignorant buffoon to tell us we need to be great again.  

From Occupied America, which was great and is great and will soon be great again once we expel this virus of incompetence and deceit in our midst, Fight The Power!





Thursday, July 20, 2017

THE JUICE IS LOOSE!

Orenthal James Simpson was granted parole today in his nine to thirty-three year prison sentence for the contretemps in a Las Vegas hotel wherein he participated in a poorly conceived and poorly executed plan to "rob" the individuals who had some of his sports memorabilia. 

Longtime and careful readers of the blog will remember that OJ was also prosecuted in the REGJB. 
While his lawyer in that case-Yale Galenter- won it, he lost the case in Nevada in what was a widely criticized performance of abjectly poor lawyering. Having watched the Nevada case, we join in that view. 

It's hard to have sympathy for Mr. Simpson. While acquitted of the cold-blooded knife murder of two innocent people including his ex-wife, our view of the evidence is that he was clearly and undoubtedly the killer. 

There are many reasons why OJ Simpson was acquitted, race being at the top of the list. But there was also poor police work and very good defense lawyering.  Lee Bailey's cross of Mark Furman-the lead detective-criticized at the time- was in fact well done, having gotten Furman to continually deny having used the "N" racial epithet, when in fact the defense had lots of evidence that Furman continually used the word. The cross was a great example in how a defense case is prepared and presented. Sometimes you pass up the opportunity for the "wow!" moment to bring the chickens home to roost at the end of the case. 

But another reason was that the defense used a jury expert and conducted mock trials and learned the type of juror who would be sympathetic to their client-African American females. The prosecution didn't use a consultant, and one could argue that the case was pretty much over after jury selection in which there were ten women, nine of whom were African American. 

Should parole have been denied based on Mr. Simpson's prior murder case for which he was acquitted?

Probably not. An acquittal is an acquittal (except in Federal court, where it is not: see, Dowling v. United States, 110 S.Ct 668 (1990)). 

OJ will be released October 1, 2017 and we will give you one guess where he wants to live? 
Yup- Florida- our fair state.

From Occupied America, where the President doesn't like his attorney general- and neither do we- Fight the Power!















Tuesday, July 18, 2017

JUDGE MURPHY LEAVES FOR CIVIL

UPDATE#2 GOOD BYE COFFEE AND PASTERIES for Judge Murphy and his wonderful staff Ralph (bailiff) and Joette.  The reason why Judge Murphy is considered one of the best in the building is in no small part because his staff is hands down the best as well. The soiree is being thrown by Judge Sayfie (well done) and will be Friday July 21, @ 2pm. 

UPDATE: Lourdes Simon was appointed to the circuit court Tuesday by Governor Scott. 
Congrats to Judge Simon. See you in court. 

There's a really worthy charity - School Uniform Drive, that we highly recommend. The FACDL is running a fundraiser at Fado's Irish Pub at Mary Brickell Village on August 3, 2017. See the flyer below.

JUDGE MURPHY TO CIVIL
It's not the end of the world. 
It's not like withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. 
It's not like a giant iceberg has broken off of the shelf of Antarctica. 
It's not like Trump has been elected president. 
It's not like repealing Obama-care without a replacement.

It's just a great judge going to civil for a while. 
He'll get bored and hate it and come back. Until then, Keep Calm and Carry On.

From Occupied America, where we have withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and all the other bad stuff has happened, Fight the Power. 

SCHOOL UNIFORM DRIVE 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

KRIS MAHARAJA CASE

UPDATE: TRIVIA ANSWERS BELOW as most of the correct answers have been published in our popular comments section. 
We think this was the  case Judge Sepe  Judge Gross was presiding over this trial (according to many alert readers) when he was arrested in a bribery case before the Court Broom. Don't know what Court Broom was? See below. 
Anyone have any info on this?

Trivia: Judge Gross's nickname?
THE MOUSE  because he loved all things Mickey Mouse. 

Bonus Trivia: Lawyer who was arrested with Judge Gross?
Harvey Swickle- also acquitted.

Double Bonus Trivia: Who were the defense counsel for Gross and his co-defendant?
Michael Tarre who was phenomenal and never got or gets the credit for being one of the top-notch trial lawyer-defenders of his time.

Tom Scalifini represented Swickle as per an alert reader (who thought his first name was Tim, but is actually Tom. Once we saw the last name we remembered and Mr. Scalifini was and is also a top-notch litigator in his own right . No idea who represented Swickle but Swickle and his son pulled some sort of stunt when the jury returned with a verdict as a way of creating an appellate issue which was never needed.

Triple-I Know as Much as Rumpole Trivia: Who was the Judge and from what county was he from?
Judge Daniel Futch from Broward who pretty much hated Dade, hated Dade lawyers, was a mean and ornery son-of-a gun and who once said to us "how high can you count?" when we inquired what bond he was going to set. 

On the day of the verdict Futch brought a contingent of BSO officers because-as he told the prosecutors- "I brought my own boys because I don't trust them guys from Dade to hold em when I take em in."

Quadruple I'm an REG Nerd Trivia: Name the prosecutor and where was the case tried?


Prosecutors were Dade ASAs Larry LaVecchio and Michael Band. Case was tried in the civil courthouse at 73 Flagler street- possibly in the late Judge Sidney Shapiro's (what a great decent judge he was!) courtroom. 

Thanks for playing and allowing us to reminisce. 

So all we have left is the name of Swickle's attorney at trial. We're stumped. 


Marajahal by Rumpole21 on Scribd

From Rumpapedia ( (C) JBB Productions 2017, all rights reserved):  Court Broom was a judicial scandal in the REGJB where Judges asked unpaid interns to sweep their courtrooms without paying overtime.  Born after a Starbucks appeared on every corner? Ask any lawyer over the age of 40 and they will tell you all the shocking details. 

From Occupied America, Fight the Power. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

HANZMAN ON SYG

The Judge Hanzman fan club was out in full force this weekend, emailing the below order reflecting the Judge's own view on the new SYG motion. (Spoiler alert- he likes it).
We received about a dozen copies of this from the Judge Michael Hanzman Fan Club, hereinafter JMHFC, so you can stop sending them. Use Snapchat or something. 

"M...i...c..see you real soon...K...e..y,, why? Because we like you! MOUSE...." Woops, wrong fan club song. 

So now we have two very learned and skilled judges, both successful litigators in their own right before putting on the cursed black robes, who have different views of the new SYG law.

Have at it.


Thursday, July 06, 2017

STAND BY YOUR STAND YOUR GROUND LAW

Judge Hirsch celebrated our nation's independence by finding that the latest iteration of Florida's shoot to kill stand your ground law shoot first ask questions later  is Unconstitutional.

Here is the order:



Highlights from the order include the following: 

"When in due course of human events...
"Ask not what you can do to an intruder, ask what caliber ammunition should be in your firearm..."
"That's one small step for the Florida Legislature, and one giant leap for mankind..."
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal...

And of course, the judge found succor in his favourite president- Abraham Lincoln: 

"A law divided against itself cannot stand..."






Monday, July 03, 2017

JULY 4



HAPPY FOURTH OF JUL


1) Try and name the three Presidents who died on 
July 4. 

2) How many hotdogs are consumed on the 4th of July? 
500 million; 250 million; 150 million; 75 million?

3) Who was the oldest signer of the declaration of independence? 
Ben Franklin; Thomas Jefferson; John Adams; Donald Trump:

4)  Independance Day was first celebrated where?
Washington DC; Philadelphia; NYC; Trump Tower; Newport Rhode Island; Boston?


5) Who first signed the Declaration of Independance?
George Washington; Donald Trump; John Hancock; Benji Franklin; Rupert Pupkin? 

6) Which state has apple pie as their state pie?
Utah; Vermont; Kansas; Alabama; North Dakota?

7) When did Congress declare July 4 as a national holiday?
2010; 1870; 1777; 1900?

8) What are the first words of the declaration of independance? 
"Donald Trump will someday..."; 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident..."; "When in due course of human events..."; "That's one small declaration for man, one giant declaration for man-kind..."?

9) How many people lived in America on July 4, 1776, not including indigenous native americans who refused to participate in the census. 
1 million; 2.5 million; 3.5 million; 5 million? 

10) From whom did the USA declare independance from?
China; England; NAFTA; Mexico; Canada; Russia; Microsoft? 

GRADE YOUR SCORE:

10/10 : A true patriot;
8-9/10: A history major you must be;
6-7/10: You went to college in the Northeast, didn't you?
1-6/10: Try again next year Judge. 


Answers:
1) John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe.
2) 150 million hot dogs are consumed today.
3) Benji Franklin was the oldest signer of the declaration of independance.
4) Philly first celebrated July 4.
5) John Hancock elbowed his way in front of Trump to be the first to put his John Hancock on the DOI.
6) Get your apple pie with a slice of Cabot cheddar in the green mountain state of Vermont. 
7) We got the day off starting in 1870.
8) "When in due course of human events..."
9) 2.5 million people lived in America on July 4, 1776, and McDonalds had already served ten million hamburgers.
10) Despite claims by the current white house that NAFTA and China were the entities from whom we declared independance, it was King "Vlad Putin" George of England that we declared our independence from.


Friday, June 30, 2017

WOZ

UPDATE: Time change on Gordon Shuminer's funeral to 2:00 pm. See post below. 

On June 29, 1975, at 10:00 PM WST, a momentous  event occurred without any notice in a small town in California. 

A young man, who had labored over a contraption for many months, indeed in one form or another for many years, took a deep breath and pressed button. 

One could say the future of the world changed that day.  
The future of business changed that day. 
The future of communication changed that day. How we talk with each other and how we write to each other changed that day. 
The way the world shops changed that day. 
That day changed the course of how newspapers would be published and how books would be read and how information would be communicated and stored. 

You would be hard pressed to look around and try and find items in your life that would not change based on the press of that one button that day. 

On June 29, 1975, a young man named Steve Wozniak -known as Woz to everyone- pressed a button on a keyboard and a letter appeared on a screen.

Think about that for a moment. For the first time EVER, a person typed and the letters appeared on a screen. Forty-two years ago no one had ever typed anything that appeared on a screen. And then Woz did it. 

And the world has never been the same.

Ten months later, on April 1, 1976, The Apple Corporation was born. 

From Occupied America, use your computer and Fight the Power!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

GORDON SHUMINER HAS PASSED AWAY

UPDATED FUNERAL INFORMATION BELOW

This is for old-timers only. Sad news today has reached us that Gordon Shuminer, brother of Alan and Jeff Shuminer, passed away today-Thursday- unexpectedly. 




Gordon was a public defender in the 1980's. Gordon had immense talent and ability and is still famous for cross-examining an empty chair during closing argument, highlighting a state witness who wasn't called well before Haliburton prevented such brilliant tactics. For those of you who remember him, he was one of a kind. 

For many years only Alan Shuminer has practiced in Miami, and we are sure he would love to read the memories of his brother from those who knew him. 

UPDATED: Services are this Sunday, July 2, 2017, at 2PM at Beth David Chapel, 3201  North 72nd Avenue, Hollywood, FL

May Gordon rest in peace.

Monday, June 26, 2017

BOLO...OR JUST SAY NO

Todays post is about the over-worked, under-appreciated cog in the court system: the bailiff. 

A great bailiff is like a great umpire: s/he is doing their job well when you don't notice them working. Every well-run courtroom needs a competent judge and a great bailiff. A good bailiff shows compassion to the litigant, whispers a well placed tip in a lawyer's ear ("check your fly counselor" is always our favourite, especially when it's up),  and keeps their judge grounded and focused. 

A bad bailiff lets the badge go to their head. They try and close the courtroom although the law doesn't allow it. They try and stop people from texting on their cell phones when they have no authority to do so, and they are rude to people who need their help - like litigants who show up late and are worried they missed their court appearance. 

Which brings us to this @Davidovalle305 tweet:

Not sure what a "GRM" is, but at least they are as well informed as the ASAs. 

So BOLO for a fake bailiff. 
Or the next time one comes up to you and asks you to stop texting, and leave the courtroom, "just say NO." Say: "Rumpole told me to tell you that you have no authority to close a State of Florida Courtroom to any individual on earth. They don't even need to be a US Citizen. They just need to be an earthling." (It's not clear if ET can enter a courtroom without permission.)  Even visiting judges from Broward have the right (as unpleasant as the thought is) to enter a Miami-Dade Courtroom. Which reminds us of the idiot Judge in Broweird who      (we are not making this up) used to order his bailiff to close and lock the door at 9:01 am and issued BWs to everyone who wasn't seated inside the courtroom. This included people running late, stuck in the elevator, or talking to their lawyer outside. 

Anyway, be on the lookout for a fake bailiff. Maybe it's the low pay or long hours that they find attractive.

From Occupied America, where affordable health care appears to just make our president and his republican pals nuts, Fight the Power!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

HANZMAN RULES

We're back. Our short absence can be directly traced to two United States District Court Judges at opposite ends of the country who had no problem making us try two cases back to back. As the saying goes, the difference between the Almighty and a US district court Judge is that the Almighty does not think she is a US district court judge...

Judge Hanzman, a popular subject for the commentators on this blog has issued a ruling that has the FACDL members yapping. We re-print it here for your review and comments.

Judge Hanzman has entered the arena of minimum mandatory sentences. This arena was created by the legislature with the full belief that the 24 year old prosecutor with a year under her belt in court, is more trustworthy, better suited, better able, more experienced and overall a better person to decide the fate of a defendant facing a 15 year minimum mandatory sentence than a wise and experienced judge like Judge Hanzman, who has more than likely tried more cases in his career, than three times the years our young prosecutor has lived on this earth and sipped her Starbucks lattes every morning.

That being said, Judge H reaches into the dark and murky area of the the Restatement of Contracts to come to the decision that HE and not the prosecutor, is best suited to decide the fate of a defendant facing a minimum mandatory sentence.

Judge for yourself.

Order Accepting Plea and Imposing Sentence by Rumpole21 on Scribd


From Occupied America, bully for Judge Hanzman fighting the power!

p.s. Our unscientific survey leads us to believe the last judge in the REGJB to cite the restatement of contracts in a ruling was ...never. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

NEW LAWS IN FLORIDA & JNC STAYS VERY BUSY .......

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

NEW LAWS IN FLORIDA .....

GOVERNOR SCOTT STAYS BUSY SIGNING BILLS INTO LAW .....

SB 118 - CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS:

Any person or entity engaged in the business of publishing through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium or otherwise disseminating arrest booking photographs of persons who have previously been arrested may not solicit or accept a fee or other form of payment to remove the photographs. 
 
To read the new law, go here.
 
SB 494 - COMPENSATION OF VICTIMS OF WRONGFUL INCARCERATION:
 
Revising the circumstances under which a person is disqualified from receiving compensation under the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act; specifying that a wrongfully incarcerated person who commits no more than one felony that is not a violent felony, rather than a felony law violation, which results in revocation of parole or community supervision is eligible for compensation, etc
 
To read the new law, go here
 
SB 312 - EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION
 
The “Eyewitness Identification Reform Act”; requiring state, county, municipal, or other law enforcement agencies that conduct lineups to follow specified procedures; requiring the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to create educational materials and provide training programs on how to conduct lineups, etc.
 
To read the new law, go here
 
SB 128 - SELF-DEFENSE IMMUNITY
 
This bill amends the statute to require the State, rather than the Defendant, to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant did not use force lawfully.
 
To read the new law, go here
 
SB 1052 - JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE
 
This bill clarifies "justifiable use of force laws" and expands the Castle Doctrine to include any residence a person has a right to be in.
 
To read the new law, go here.
 
SO, YOU WANT TO BE A CIRCUIT/COUNTY COURT JUDGE .......
 
The 11th Circuit JNC has met and voted to send 12 names to Governor Scott to fill vacancies resulting from the elevation of County Court Judges' Judge Victoria del Pino and Jason Dimitris to the Circuit Court.  The Governor has 60 days to choose two names from the list, which includes:
 
Milena Abreu    
Ramiro Christen Areces
Karl S.H. Brown
Christina Marie DiRaimondo
Renatha Francis
Peter Heller
Elijah A. Levitt
Joseph J. Mansfield
Luis Perez-Medina
Gordon Charles Murray, Sr.
Julie Harris Nelson
Steven G. Paulson
 
 
The JNC has also announced two Circuit Court vacancies due to the elevation of Judge Norma Lindsey to the 3rd DCA and the resignation of Circuit Judge Gisela Cardonne Ely.  The deadline to submit your application to the JNC is July 17, 2017.
 
CAPTAIN OUT .......
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

REGJB REGULAR INDICTED

Sam Konell, a REGJB regular has been indicted for health care fraud. 

Article here. 

Sorry for slow blogging. In trial. 
It's hot here in Phoenix...but not for us...just the AUSAs.

From the DOJ press release:


The indictment alleges that from approximately January 2006 through June 2012, Konell accepted kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries to Greater Miami Behavioral Healthcare Center, Inc. (Greater Miami) to serve as patients so that Greater Miami could bill Medicare for mental health treatment purportedly provided to those beneficiaries. The indictment further alleges that Konell knew that the beneficiaries he referred to Greater Miami did not need, qualify for nor receive such treatment. In addition, the indictment alleges that Konell and co-conspirators took steps to disguise the true nature of the bribes and kickbacks Greater Miami paid to Konell and other patient brokers.


From occupied America, and on a break in a federal court where WE are fighting the power....fight the power!

Friday, June 09, 2017

THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE

The Miami legal community lost two very different lawyers this week. 
Naphtali Wacks was murdered by a reckless driver who rammed his car into the back of Wacks' car as he drove to work. 

We can't help but think that Naphtali woke up like he did any other day, performed his morning ablutions, got into his car, and drove to work, not realizing that his days were numbered. Of course there is the denial of this tragedy. "If he had only lingered over his coffee five minutes longer...If he hadn't made that light on the way to causeway he would have been delayed five minutes and wouldn't have crossed paths with the man who killed him."

But fate had other plans, and Naphtali's life crossed paths literally with a man who had literal regard for human life, and Naphtali lost his life in a senseless tragic accident. 

Friday morning came work that civil super-star lawyer Ervin Gonzalez had committed suicide. Mr. Gonzalez is the second high profile lawyer in Miami to take his own life recently. It seems like only yesterday when Richard Sharpstein made that same, tragic decision. 
It was just a few weeks ago that Attorney Ken White died suddenly of a cardiac event.

Some lived and wanted to die. Some died, wanting to live. 
And life for us plods on. 

All of these men had much to live for. And yet they are gone. Forever. Death brooks no appeals. There is no waiver. The judgment is final and eternal and irreversible. 

We get up every day and yet some of us are living our last day and don't know it. 

What we take for granted has a fragility that we mask behind our daily denial of the inevitable. 

There is no real end to this dark billet-doux. Just the musings of an older, rumpled, exceptional trial lawyer, who on this rainy day, is a bit morose about life and its fragility. 

From Occupied America....Affirm Life.  

Monday, June 05, 2017

NAPHTALI WACKS HAS PASSED AWAY

Naphtali Wacks passed away Saturday from injuries he sustained in a criminal hit-and-run event last week.  He was buried Sunday. 

Born In September, 1959, he was 57 years old.  Naphtali was part of what made our small courthouse and legal community fascinating and unique. He will be missed. 

May his name be a blessing and may he rest in peace.


Sunday, June 04, 2017

THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Seventy-five years ago today, Sunday, June 4, 1942, exactly six months from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, American Naval Aviators changed history and saved the world.

The US had broken the Japanese code.  Admiral Nimitz, who at the direction of Roosevelt had taken over from Admiral Husband Kimmel at Pearl, found himself commanding a Pacific fleet with most of it at the bottom of Pearl Harbour. Except for the aircraft carriers, Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet, Saratoga, and Lexington although On June 4, the Lex had been sunk a month before at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Yorktown was severely damaged in the same battle, trailing a ten mile oil slick as she limped into Pearl. Needing three months for repair, Nimitz ordered all hands on deck and 1400 welders descended on the Yorktown and had her back out steaming for Midway three days later.

The Japanese sent six carriers to Midway, led by Admiral Yamamoto on his flagship, the largest battleship in the world. Yamamoto wanted to lure the American carriers into a trap, finish them off, and then the entire Pacific and west coast of the United States would be vulnerable to the mighty Japanese Navy.

But Nimitz put all his eggs in the basket of Cmdr. Joe Rochefort, a cranky, brilliant analyst who after working weeks non-stop, was sure he was reading Yamamoto's mail. He knew the order of battle, and so did Nimitz and that gave the Americans an opening.

Nimitz's best fighting Admiral- Bull Halsey was out -sick with shingles- and he was replaced by Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance, who had never commanded carriers in Battle. Spruance sailed with the Hornet and Enterprise and Rear Admiral Jack Fletcher was on the damaged Yorktown. But Nimitz had a plan- he would use the landing strip at Midway as a fourth carrier. Loaded with bombers waiting to attack Yamamoto.

The issue was who could find who first? Nimitz had some advantages, knowing from the Japanese code that Yamamoto had split his force into four task forces, and knowing where the Japanese would be searching, Nimitz got his carriers into place before the Japanese went searching for them. The Japanese planned to lure the carriers AFTER attacking Midway, but Spruance and Fletcher were already in place.

And then it came down to the men in the planes. Wave after wave of American Torpedo bombers found the Japanese carriers, and almost all of them were shot down. A terrible loss of young, brave men. But Nimitz had more planes than Yamamoto was expecting, and the waves of American Torpedo Bomber Aviators took their toll on the Japanese carriers in terms of fighting them off. Men like Cmdr Duffy Waldron and Ensign George Gay are little remembered today, but they flew into battle without fighter escort, desperate to inflict damage on the Japanese carriers. All were shot down and only Ensign Gay survived. But the tide was about to turn.

As Admiral Nagumo scrambled his fighters to fight off wave after wave of American Torpedo bombers - none of whom scored a hit, Nagumo was in a constant dance of landing fighters, refueling them, and also coordinating the arming of his bombers all while trying to get the fighters in the air with the bombers to launch a coordinated strike.

Then Nagumo's luck ran out.

Enter Cmdr. Wade McClusky, and his two squadrons of dive bombers from the Enterprise.  McClusky's bombers were almost out of fuel for the return trip. But he knew the Japanese were nearby. And again luck or fate intervened. McClusky spotted the destroyer Arashi racing for the fleet. It had just spent an hour depth charging the US Submarine Nautilus that had attacked the Japanese Battleship Kirishima. If the Nautilus doesn't attack Kirishima, the Arashi doesn't get delayed, and Cmdr. McClusky doesn't see it returning to the fleet. But all of that happened. And, placing his men and planes at risk of running out of fuel, McClusky follows the Arashi and comes upon four Japanese carriers, all without air cover, their decks full of planes being refueled and re-armed after fighting off waves of fruitless American Torpedo bomber attacks.

As McClusky approached with his squadrons from the Enterprise from the Southwest, one squadron from the repaired led by Cmdr Max Leslie off the Yorktown - the carrier the Japanese were never expecting to be in service after Coral Sea- approached from the Northeast. All three squadrons arrived over the unprotected Japanese carriers at the same time.

In the space of an hour- 10:20 am local time to 11:20 am, one could argue the War in the Pacific was won by brave American Naval Aviators whose names have faded into history.

The Japanese carrier Kaga sustained five direct hits, the carrier Akagi was hit once by a bomb dropped by Lt. Cmdr Best, and it was a fatal blow, landing in the blow deck flight deck among the fuel and ammunition.

Now Cmdr. Max Leslie and his group from the Yorktown arrived and found the Japanese carrier Soryu. Leslie and some of his men didn't have bombs as they dove. A faulty switch dropped them several minutes before battle. But Leslie and some of his other pilots dove on the Soryu anyway, taking anti-aircraft away from other planes that had bombs, and strafing the carrier and setting in on fire.

Now three carriers were ablaze and sinking. The sole functioning Japanese carrier Hiryu launched its planes against the Yorktown, striking it several times.  But the old girl had one last trick up her sleeve. Late in the afternoon, a Yorktown scout plane found the Hiryu, and bomber squadrons from the Enterprise, comprising planes that had been recovered from all US Carriers launched one last time upon the orders of Admiral Spruance.  Spruance was no Halsey, but he had his blood up and he knew he had the Japanese on the ropes. A more cautious admiral may have retreated with three Japanese Carriers sunk, but Spruance went for the kill shot. His planes found the Hiryu, and fought through fighter cover and hit her four or five times and she was done.

As the sun began to set in the Pacific on June 4, 1942, the world had changed because of men like Nimitz and Spruance and Fletcher and the bravery of Aviators like McClusky, Gay, and Duffy Waldron.
Never again would the empire of Japan be on the offensive in the Pacific. Now Japan would fight a defensive battle as Nimitz from the sea and MacArthur from the land tightened the noose around the Empire's neck.

We owe these men- all since passed on either in battle or after a well earned retirement- our freedom. Our country exists today because Nimitz trusted Cmdr. Rochefort; because Spruance and Fletcher trusted their Aviators; because the Captain of a US Sub attacked a Japanese Battleship, and Cmdr. McClusky trusted his gut and followed a ship to the entire Japanese carrier fleet. We are free because Cmdr. Max Leslie attacked and dove on  a carrier into enemy fire without a bomb, drawing fire allowing his men to drop their bombs and sink the Soryu.

One day- June 4, 1942- and a few brave men- changed a war and altered the course of history.

May the good lord continue to bless our country- As General Patton once remarked- "I don't mourn their death, but I thank God that such men lived."

From Occupied America, where the current occupant of the White House has no idea what today means, Fight the Power! Fight it for Nimitz, and Wade McClusky and Max Leslie and all those brave men who died so that we may live.