Monday, July 06, 2015



USA topped Japan 5-2 in the finale Sunday, as the US becomes the first nation to win the WC three times. 

Donald Trump: "When did we beat Japan at anything?"
Presidential Announcement speech, June 16, 2015. 

On Sunday, the Greeks voted "NO" to the conditions of the EU to restructure the debt Greece has defaulted on. 

What now?  (the puzzled blog reader is asking).

EU finance ministers will meet again with Greek officials to see if an agreement can be reached restructuring Greek debt. Meanwhile, with no relief, Greek banks, which have already restricted withdrawals to $60.00 will soon run out of cold, hard, euros. At that point the banks have the option of only issuing IOU's (or in Greece- IOG's). That will last about a week, and then you will see the remarkable event of an entire nation run out of cash. Greek debit and credit cards (not to mention checks) are no longer being honored in the rest of the world. Within Greece, people will soon not be able to trade goods and services for currency. The economy, which is sputtering along, will grind to a crashing halt. The government will have no choice at that point but to withdraw from the EU and start printing Drachmas, which for a long time will not be honored in the rest of the world. Greece will be most unable to import goods. 

It's not a pretty picture.

We read more in a week then most lawyers with sixty months and one day Bar membership* read in a lifetime. And we certainly read more in a month than all of those newly minted judges combined read in several lifetimes. 

During our weekly reading, we  came across a couple of quotes:

"It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them."
Ulysses S. Grant. 

"I do not for a moment believe that the Americanism of today should be be a mere submission to the American ideals of the period of the Declaration of Independence."
Theodore Roosevelt. 

And finally…
"Wisdom too often never comes so one ought not to reject it merely because it becomes late."
Henslee v. Union Planters National Bank & Trust, Co., 335 U.S. 595 (1949),  J. Frankfurter, dissenting
in which he admits his prior decision in a similar case used to uphold the decision in this case, was wrong. 

King Slams Roman. 

Federal Judge James King gave retired Miami officer Juan Roman twenty-five years (thats veinticinco if you're counting) for downloading and possessing child pornography.  A later investigation revealed videos of the officer molesting children.  
David Ovalle and the Herald reported on the sentencing last week here. 

New week. Summer time and the blogging is slow. 

Keep cool. See you in court. 

*After being a member of the Bar for five years, you are eligible to become a judge.

Thursday, July 02, 2015


From NBC 6, video of Judge Mindy Glazer and a defendant who was her junior high school classmate. The two classmates bumped into each other at bond hearing. One was on the bench, one was wearing orange, the new black.

The defendant was overcome with emotion, repeating "oh my goodness, oh my goodness" before breaking down sobbing.  
Rumors that the two broke into the old Nautilus Beach fight song are incorrect.
Oh those hazy lazy days of summer.

You never know who you're going to meet in our humble little courthouse. 
We're pretty sure we once met Xavier Cougat  coming out of the old Pickle Barrell.

 Not sure if we can embed the video of the reunion, , so here is the link.

Long weekend coming up.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We're losing one of the good gals. 

We first met Vicki Sigler when she was a no-nonsense -take no guff-PD who fought like hell for her clients, with a little bit of a  home-spun old time Florida accent.

When she ran for the bench and then won, it was a win for all of us. A very qualified lawyer devoting her career to public service. Judge Sigler wasn't some privileged lawyer with five years experience and no trials BS'ing voters at meet-n-greets about her devotion to justice. She was the real deal. She had tried cases and been in the thick of it, where the rubber meets the road. 

When she took the bench, she brought the kind of wisdom and insight that only someone who really knows their job and the justice system can bring to the bench. There was no highfalutin pronouncements of judicial philosophy, and certainly no political bent to her rulings. 

Judge Sigler knew the law, and she applied it. 
Judge Sigler knew right from wrong, and she did right. 
Is there any better appellation for a judge then to be called someone who did right by those who appeared before her? 

Judge Sigler is retiring out west, to a variety of pursuits and interests outside of the law. Good for her. She did her time, and we are all the better off for it. 

But we lost one of the good gals today, and maybe it's the humidity that has us pessimistic, but we just done see the type of quality individuals applying for the bench that Vicki Sigler was and is. Judge Sigler is the kind of judge who can't be replaced. Someone will take her seat on the bench, but they won't fill her shoes. 

Via Con Dios Judge Vicki Sigler. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Before their ridiculous runs for the presidency get off the ground, three of the GOP's finest (please don't think I am not being sarcastic), Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have disqualified themselves to be President.  The reason is simple, they have already announced they will violate their oath of office.  You know those silly little words: "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic".

All three have announced they do not believe in the separation of powers which those brilliant men some 230 years ago were smart enough to understand and write into the most precious of our contracts.  It amazes me that, without even batting an eyelash, each of them, who claim to love this country and all it stands for, are ready to throw away one branch of those checks and balances, and sell the most important precept of our government (we are nation of laws) in order to suck up to the far right fringe of our body politic.  Let's look at each individually.

Bobby Jindal (the governor of the only state which has yet to grant even one marriage license to a same sex couple) said:
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body.  If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”
Get rid of the court. Who needs that nasty old Supreme Court. While we are at it, let's get rid of the legislature, too. We don't need them, do we Bobby? You are smart enough to do it all by yourself. The last I looked the Supreme Court is the only court created in the constitution, you imbecile.

Not to be outdone, a former law clerk to Chief Justice Rehnquist, you know the macho man himself, Ted Cruz has decided that the little thing in the Judiciary Clause of the Constitution about not electing judges to keep them from political retribution for their decisions (lifetime appointments) is unnecessary.

To challenge "judicial activism" Cruz said he is proposing a constitutional amendment to require Supreme Court justices to face retention elections every eight years.  It is hard to imagine someone as close to the Court as he was, and claims his proudest moment as a lawyer is when he argued a case before SCOTUS and lost 9-0, could fail to understand this point.  If anyone wonders, this man means to take power no matter what it takes and no matter what he has to say or do, even if that anything is the destruction of the country he claims to love so much.

Lastly, Mike Huckabee.  This clown has stated the Supreme Court is not the supreme being and therefore you don't have to obey the orders of that court, or for that matter, any other.  He speaks of  SCOTUS like it is King George III incarnate.  He wants the other two branches of the government to make war upon the Supreme Court
"The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."
"This ruling is not about marriage equality, it's about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court's most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny."
"The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment."
It should be noted, that all three of these morons believe in the 2nd Amendment, which they praise SCOTUS for protecting. The ignorance and pandering of these men is astounding and disturbing. They are dedicated to the dumbing of America, so it will follow them in their quest for the end of our republic as we know it.  If they were not so dangerous, it would be funny.  It just makes my blood boil that so many of those, who wish to lead us, claim to love America, but not the government that makes us America.

Friday, June 26, 2015


In a decision, much closer than I thought it would be, SCOTUS  has reversed the 6th Circuit and made marriage a union between two adults, no matter what their sexual orientation.  Showing no faith in the political process, as they exhibited yesterday in King v. Burwell, the majority, spearheaded by Justice Kennedy, made marriage a fundamental right protected by the 14th Amendment.

Using precedents regarding marriage equality (specifically interracial marriage) the Court made it clear that gay couples are entitled to the same protections as any other citizens who are in legally recognized unions.  The majority indicated that to do otherwise relegates those couples, and the families they create, to second-class citizenship and the 14th won't tolerate that.

However, it is not complete.  The majority, in need of Kennedy's vote, had to agree to language that echoes the Hobby Lobby case.  Essentially, if a person can establish that they have a firm religious objection to "same sex marriage" they can refuse to provide services, such as officiating at the wedding, catering, providing use of a venue or bakery (wedding cakes).

This will be interesting in Pasco County, where the clerk has stated that she would issue licenses, but will not let her employees perform the ceremony.  However, in the end, being a government office, which can not promote any religious views, the clerk will mostly likely have to back off, at least as to her office.  Individual clerk's employees may be able to object.  Watch for Pamela Joe to jump on this one for the clerk.

The dissents mostly are rants about the good old days and the historical perspective of marriage.  Roberts disappoints with his last paragraph:

"If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."

Scalia does not disappoint in accusing the majority of hubris born of a mere majority, which, of course is not hubris when they side with him.  In essence he stands by his opinion that a provision of the constitution only means what it meant when adopted, and can mean nothing more.

Lastly, Thomas makes his usual remarks.  "Our Constitution - like the Declaration of Independence - was predicated upon a simple truth:  One's liberty, not to mention one's dignity, was something to shielded from - not provided by - the State" and he predicts doom and gloom for the republic.  Guess he forgot that the Constitution provided no dignity for African-Americans until the 13th Amendment gave them freedom and the 14th Equal Protection, which provided him with the opportunity to express HIS dignity.

The country has taken a huge step forward today.  One can only hope there will be many more in my lifetime.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Justice Roberts shows his true colors as a pragmatist.  Kennedy shows he has federalist leanings on important matters.  SCOTUS upholds the Affordable Care Act.  Kennedy follows up his opinion in a equal opportunity housing case with a vote in favor of the ACA, where he had voted against its constitutionality in a prior case.  Roberts writes with a direct and pragmatic approach.  He basically says that we read the whole law, not just five words.  Roberts says you must look at the intent of the law, not just the technicalities.

On the other hand Scalia says we should no longer call the ACA Obamacare.   It should be called SCOTUS Care.  (He does know how to turn a phrase.)  He calls Roberts opinion a "defense of the indefensible."

With the decision 6-3, this bodes well for Obergfell (same sex marriage).  That will also be 6-3 and Roberts will write on this one too.  Expect an even nastier dissent from Scalia and Thomas.

This court has now made a decided turn to the left.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Judges rarely change their minds. They often feel they can’t. When they put on their robes, they wrap themselves in a mythos of authority and certainty. They’re supposed to be distant, neutral and wise. They’re supposed to have all the answers. “Lawyers and litigants project infallibility onto judges,” (NOT THIS LAWYER says Rumpole ) says Jeremy Fogel, a federal judge in Northern California who directs the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, which provides training for every new federal judge that addresses the formidable social expectations that come with the job.

The NY Times article, which is a lengthy and thoughtful examination on judges and judging, sent to us by an alert reader, is here.

A Picture speaks a thousand words: 
These pictures and this tweet went viral over the weekend:

This is how you arrest a black man for selling loose cigarettes.

This is how you arrest a white man accused of killing nine black people in cold blood. 

Sort of makes you think.

South Carolina, where this troubled young man was raised, has the confederate flag, or some iteration thereof, flying about its capital.

Lets put an end to this nonsense right now.
The confederate flag celebrates a time in our country when white people enslaved and sold black people. Pure and simple. That is what the flag stands for. Yes, there were issues of what people call "states rights" (although metaphysically and  epistemologically speaking, States cannot have rights, only people can have rights). And if the South seceded because it didn't want federal (read  "northern") control over how it ran its business, then that's just removing by one step the issue that the South didn't want to give up its slaves.

People can celebrate how brave southern soldiers fought. But they bravely fought for the wrong cause. They fought to preserve slavery, pure and simple. It was the only issue that could not be resolved.

To to celebrate this  

because the south's soldiers fought bravely for the confederacy, we might as well celebrate this

because German soldiers fought bravely for their Fuhrer in the second world war. 

You can remember the soldiers and remember their sacrifice. But it does not require displaying the flag they fought under, for the country that advanced a repugnant idea antithetical to a country that has a bill of rights and celebrates and protects the freedom and and sanctity of the individual.  And you can use the confederate flag or the nazi flag interchangeably in that last sentence. The idea applies equally.

Make no mistake. A defense of displaying the confederate flag is nothing more than a cheap, rank, thinly disguised defense of racism.

Enough is enough. It's 2015. Take down the damned confederate flag from government buildings. If racist yahoos want to fly it from their home, so be it. Nazi sympathizers won the right to march in Illinois in the 1970's. But we are sick and tired of this ridiculous defense of the confederate flag as celebrating some noble effort. The South's effort was not noble. They fought to defend and preserve slavery. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's sophistry and blatant lies.

See Y'all in court.