Wednesday, October 01, 2014


The headline, which really writes itself, is "Will Thomas Collapsed!" but that would be somewhat disingenuous and unfair to the good Judge who otherwise seems to be in fine health. 

Like the new phone book, the Dolphin September-December swoon, and Judge Thomas denying a motion to continue, somethings never change, and that includes the changing of Judges. When the music stops, here's what we know via an email from Judge Sayfie:

In a nutshell, the changes will be as follows:

1.       Division 8, currently Judge Thomas, will be collapsed, once he is transferred to civil.  This will likely take place sometime in January. His caseload will be evenly divided by the COC among the other 20 remaining regular divisions.
2.       The 2 ROC divisions will be combined into one.  Judge Rodriguez-Chomat will be presiding over the division.  The current combined caseload is 369.  This will likely  take place during late January.
3.       Judge Mindy Glazer will be coming over to REG and be the presiding bond hearing division judge.  This should occur no later than February 2, 2015.
4.       Judge Fleur Lobree (Division 3) will be replaced by Judge Diane Ward and the division will be relocated to Courtroom 4-8.
5.       Judges Gordo (2), Hendon (4), Ruiz-Cohen (6), Sanchez-Llorens (18), Rebull (19) & Fajardo (20) will be transferring out of the criminal division.  Replacement judges TBA.  Locations TBA.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  Thank you.

Nushin G. Sayfie, Circuit Court Judge
Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division

Here's the way we envision our opening statement, sometime in January 2015 (remember our admonition to never set a case for trial for the first week of the new year): "May it please the TBA, counsel for the state, ladies and gentlemen of the jury...."  

See You In Court. 

Monday, September 29, 2014


Sorry about no post this morning. Uncharacteristically, there was no internet on the flight over the pond. And BTW, speaking of Europe, Berlin is the great European City of the 21st Century and you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't visit. 

VERY QUIETLY and without much (or any) fanfare, one of the best trial lawyers to grace the halls of the hallowed REGJB returned Monday. John Hogan, former chief assistant prosecutor to Janet Reno, the man, the myth, the legend, was quietly minding his own business in the 7th floor jury room as a potential juror. H/T a couple of longtime readers. 

AND VERY QUIETLY, Regional Counsel Eugene Zenobi tried a case last week. When was the last time you saw the head of an agency in the pits, their sleeves rolled up (figuratively) , doing some real work?  H/t just about everyone in the division. 

The League of Prosecutors is hosting a "New prosecutors meet the Old prosecutors" get together this Thursday. We haven't been given the official go-ahead to announce where this soiree is being held (despite a half dozen members forwarding us the email of the event), so we won't spill the beans, or reveal the CI as it were. 

At the risk of repeating ourselves, here's what we want the new PDs and ASAs to remember:  you will make great friends and maybe meet your best friend during this exciting time in your lives. Cherish these moments.  What is the difference you ask? 
A great friend is the person you call to bail you out of jail. Your best friend is the person sitting next to you in the jail cell saying "I can't believe we did that." That being said, try and not get arrested for the next few years. 

State v. Andrew Rolle. 
The prosecution and love-fest (not) between the opposing lawyers in the prosecution of the tragic murder of Detective James Walker continues today and through the end of this week before Judge Tinkler-Mendez. 

It's still the season of redemption. As the Jewish Torah says, the day of Atonement is for forgiveness of sins between a person and the lord. There is no atonement for sins between people without  an apology and forgiveness. 

Yes, the amazing breadth and depth of our knowledge extends to the theological. 

See You In Court, and we forgive you. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014


ERRATA:  Mark Vargo is still alive as he picked the Saints over the Vikings last week. 

Difficult pickings this week, as the lines look to be about right in each game. So we are reverting to a tried and true method, revert to the mean- which means that teams are neither as good or as bad as they appeared the week before (Jaguars notwithstanding). 

Packers +2 at the Bears. 
Panthers +3 at the Ravens.
Over 54 Saints/Cowboys. 
Over 44 Lions at Jets.
49'ers -4.5 at home over the Eagles. 


Until then....

"I'll find em for three, but I'll catch em and kill em for 10."

What Rumpole is reading:
"This Is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper. 
Funny, poignant and sad, often in the same paragraph. A writer of great depth and strength. 

"Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest For The Ultimate Nature Of Reality" By Max Tegmark. 
This is probably not for you. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Legend has it that during an otherwise non-descript late afternoon hearing before the legendary Judge Ellen Morphonious, a "C" prosecutor told the "C" PD  "fuck you."

The PD turned to Judge Morphonious and asked her if she heard what the prosecutor just said to him? 
And Judge Morphonious replied: "Yes. He forgot to say 'and the horse you rode in on'.

Such were the fun days in the REGJB, when a little release of stress didn't lead to bar complaints, human resource investigations and discipline, and anger management classes. We know who both the lawyers are, they can reveal themselves in the comments section if they wish, and both have gone on to distinguished careers. 

All of this is a prelude to the Miami Herald article hear about Judge Jacqueline Schwartz who allegedly told employees of a convenience store that was displaying a large sign for one of her opponents in the last election (she had two, one is remaining in a run-off) to "go fuck yourself" after  they refused to remove the sign. 

Campaigns are a tough business. All politics is local, and nothing is personal:   "It's not personal Tom. It's strictly business." Michael Corleone to Tom, after he removed his brother as consigliere to the family. 

Say what you want about judicial temperament, and Judge Schwartz has her share of complaints about her performance as a county court judge, but she wasn't wearing robes when she said this. Admittedly she was verbally abusing a few powerless clerks since the owner of the building had put up the sign and they had no  authority to take it down, but there is something old-school about this incident. 

Courts are closed today as members of the Jewish faith  begin ten days of introspection and reflection culminating in the day of atonement when they make amends for their shortcomings for the prior year. It's an excellent time for people to seek out those they have hurt or insulted (or wrongfully cursed at) and seek forgiveness.  Of course, we lead an exemplarily life and such pedestrian concerns are beneath us. But for the rest of you, get your house in order for a new year. 

See You In Court. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It's a teacher work day. The establishment clause of the first amendment prohibits us from discussing this further. 

Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman was found guilty Monday afternoon in a political corruption trial. 
For Ben Kuehene, here is how his year has stacked up: he beat the feds in a political corruption trial (Mayor Pizzi) and lost a corruption trial in State court. That's the football equivalent of the Raiders beating the Patriots and then losing to the Bucs. Up is down. Down is up. The state never wins corruption trials and the feds never lose. Except now. 

Judge Luck tried the case and he reserved on the motion for JOA. Ben is the consummate attorney and you know all issues have been reserved and that this case is still far from over. 

You're only as good as your last verdict, and Ben Kuehene knows that. Our money is on him here. 

And congrats to ASA Isis Perez for the state. A very nice win. (Please tell us who tried the case with Isis and we will give them props too). 

Speaking of Judge Luck, if he is ever appointed to the federal bench they would just have to assign him to a courtroom and chambers on the thirteenth floor in the new Fed courthouse. The irony is just too juicy to pass up. 

 The criminal judges (Motto "No plea offer. Let's go to trial!" ) have started posting their practices and procedures on the web. Here is Judge De La O's. Here. 

This may well be a listserv violation, our reporting on a confidential listserv email.  We plead guilty as charged. And worse, we haven't taken the loyalty oath that some in FACDL are demanding "We are not now nor have we ever been a communist, and we swear to be loyal, honest, faithful, and will never read a legal blog nor share any information from this amazing listserv with anyone who is not a member of the brotherhood of the shark or part of the dark side of the force." Happy now Mr....you know who? 

PS: Those legal recommendations for a divorce lawyer in Oklahoma City, or a court reporting firm in Deland are just so damn juicy. Can't have Kathy Rundle or Don Horn knowing who we are recommending  for a worker's comp case in Atlanta. That would ruin everything. 

We Get High With a Little Help From Our Friends:
We had lunch today with a hedge fund client who, based on the nationwide trend towards legalizing marijuana or decriminalizing it, is going to capitalize on the trend by investing in.... rehab facilities. Yes, this guy, who manages billions of dollars and has a house in Connecticut the size of Delaware believes the trend will create a boom for people trying to get clean. Interesting thought. 

Our favourite season is here. 

See you in court. 

Monday, September 22, 2014


Congratulations to ASA Marie Mato and  (new) USDC Judge Darrin Gayles who were honored Saturday night with the Prosecutor of the Year award and Justice Award respectively by the League of Superheroes  Justice Prosecutors.  We were remiss in not posting this Friday or Saturday.  Of course we were not invited, but we still think that the League and the award serve important purposes. 

Many judges and criminal defense attorneys are ex-prosecutors. We often hear people talk of their experiences while prosecutors, and many times they talk about the story of the case they dismissed because they believed the defendant to be innocent. It gets so difficult in the heat of battle, especially when dealing with a contentious and perhaps even obnoxious opposing counsel to keep your eye on the ball- which is doing justice. The best of prosecutors do this, and a dinner awarding judges and prosecutors who seek justice is a good thing. Marie Mato has won some high profile cases this year and she is a very good prosecutor. But it is her reputation among the judiciary and defense bar as a prosecutor who is fair and honest and will always listen and do the right thing that makes this award especially appropriate. 

Last week also brought the good news that Scotland voted NO on seceding from the United Kingdom.  We've spent most of our adult life trying to get UK citizenship and an entire country wants to renounce theirs?  We don't get it. 

The Nations not so blessed as thee, 
must in their turns to tyrants fall
whilst thou shall flourish great and free
the dread and enemy of them all

Rule Britannia!
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never never never shall be slaves

Have a great week. We will. 
See You In Court. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

NFL WEEK 3 2014

After a pretty good week of picks for us, and a pretty bad week of publicity for the NFL, we start week three confident we are on a roll, and not so confident that the NFL is nothing more than a collection of super athletes, who are super spoiled, and most of whom have below average intelligence, morals, mores, and ideas about life, women,children, and family.  

Put another way, just because a player can run faster, hit harder, throw better, shed tackles or blockers, doesn't mean they are enlightened human beings who treat their families appropriately. We identify with what they do on the field (or fantasize about it), and somehow that translates into us believing that they are otherwise wholesome and intelligent human beings capable of rational thoughts and actions. 

Clearly, they are not.  Stop being surprised. The best linebacker in the history of the game- LT- slept with an underage prostitute. Perhaps the best running back of all time OJ- is a murderer and wife beater. The same percentage of our society that gets DUIs equates to the players in the NFL. And like a current Dallas Cowboy, some of them drink and drive and kill their friends. 

This week saw an explosion of comments by players about raising children. Some were thoughtful, some, like WR Calvin Johnson's obiter dictum that "no one tells me on how to raise my kids" leaves us to believe that there probably is not a copy of Dr. Benjamin Spock's "Baby And Child Care" on his bookshelf, if he even has a bookshelf. 

So what to do? We can stop patronizing a league where even the league admits that a third of it's players will later suffer brain damage. Watch an NBA or MLB old-timers event and you see the stars of your childhood older, grayer, a bit stooped. Go see a collection of middle aged NFL players and you see a collection of men with canes, walkers, and the beginnings of dementia. While we could never compete at that level at age 20, we most certainly can do more physically and mentally than most 50 year old ex-football players. We have both our hips, knees, and most of our brain cells. 

So is it wrong to patronize a league that wrecks devastation on its players, and employs players who brutalize women and children? 
Maybe so. It's a personal choice. But we know this, the bloom is off the rose. There's nothing romantic about the most popular sport in the USA. It is what it is. A collection of super-athletes, many of whom  are less than super human beings off the field. 

We fully intended to make our picks, but after reading what we just wrote, we just don't have it in us. 

Hypocrisy admission:  while we gave our luxury box ducats away this week, we will watch some games, eat some good food and drink some beer and root for our fantasy football players.  At least we admit our fallibility. 

We will post the survivor pool when the last picks come in. 

Sorry to be such a downer. 

See You In Court Tomorrow.