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. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Sunday, February 07, 2016

SUPER BOWL 50 AND....yeah.....DONALD TRUMP

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday!
As we wrote in our last post, we will not be watching the game. But we have some sights for you. First, don't under estimate the importance of good coaching. Bad coaching can cause errors that can turn the game around. See the video below as to what happens when you have bad coaching:  


Now on to the game. 

Right now, the best coach in the playoffs was one of the worst head coaches in the last ten years: Denver's defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.  While Denver got lucky that a third string running back fumbled in their first playoff game, their defense was superb against the New England Cheaters. 

We will take a good defense almost any year in a super bowl game. The hesitation is that the Broncos couldn't stop an injured Ben Roethlisberger,  and but for that fumble, they probably wouldn't have won the game. And Panthers QB Newton is a bigger, younger, faster Roethliberger. BUT....Roethlisberger performed poorly in his first super bowl experience, winning because of a good defense, a great running game, and a trick play (WR Randle El throwing a TD pass to WR MVP Hines Ward). 

We will take the experience of Denver's D over the Panthers and Cam Newton. When they were routed in the Super Bowl two years ago, Broncos GM John Elway, who knows a thing or two about losing and winning super bowls, went about building a defense to carry Peyton Manning to one last super bowl. It's worked so far. 

The smart money: 
Our Man 52nd Street Irwin has been monitoring the money flow in Vegas all week. He sets the line for a series of smaller sports books in Nevada. And all week the books were searching for Denver money as the Panther money flowed, starting at Carolina -3 5. By the time it got to Carolina -6 the Denver money showed up, big time, by the pros. 

Our Pick: Our head still says Carolina, but we would like to see Manning win one for the Gipper and go out a winner. If we were betting this game, and we are not, we would eschew the spread and take take the money line Denver + a juicy 195. Lay a hundred and get almost 2-1 on Peyton Manning in a super bowl. We'll do that all the time. 

Over 44.5

Tails for the coin flip. 

Take Adventure Of  a Lifetime as the first song ColdPlay plays during halftime. Odds are 2-1. 

BTW there has NEVER been a punt returned for a TD in 50 super bowls. In general it's 20-1 for a punt to be returned for a TD, so it's pretty long odds against it never occurring in 50 games, so put us down for a punt returned for a TD in this one. 

JUSTICE BUILDING PROPS. 
A proposition bet is a fun bet, like will Kobe Bryant score more than the total in the game?, etc.  So we've put together some REGJB themed prop bets: 

Double the final score OR the sum of Judges De La O and Glick's calendar pages on Monday. (Lets say the final score it 27-20, that number is 94 or the total of the two judges' calendar pages on Monday). 

The final Nielson rating for the game versus the total number of pages of Judge Ward's calendar?

Total points scored in first half versus the total number of pages of Judge De la O's calendar or Judge Richard Hersch's calendar (Pick one)? 

Which will be the higher number? The longest field goal made in the game or the total number of pages of Judge Murphy's calendar? 

Which will be the higher number? The total number of yards rushed by the Panthers, or the total number of calendar pages of the sum of Judges De la O, Murphy, and Glick? 

Which will be the highest number? The total number of receiving yards of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas,  or the total calendar pages of Judges De la O, Murphy, Glick, Tinkler-Mendez, and Richard Hersch? 

Longest touchdown scored from scrimmage or the total number of calendar pages of Judges Hersch and Hirsch? 

SPORTS/POLITICS/REGJB

What will be higher? Total percentage of the vote Donald Trump gets in the New Hampshire Primary, the number of points scored by Carolina, or the number of pages of judge Milt Hirsch's calendar on Monday? 

Have fun and if you are watching the game, enjoy it and let us know who wins.  We'll be attending a lecture at the Met later this morning  entitled "When Belief Meets Art."  And if you've never seen "The Curious Incident of the Dog At Night" (and most of you haven't) you're missing Broadway at its most ingenious and finest. 

See You In Court. 







Saturday, February 06, 2016

WHY WE ARE NOT GOING TO WATCH THE SUPER BOWL

This Sunday a hundred million people (or more) will gather world-wide to watch something that is a mixture of religion, US jingoism, and a sporting event that usually falls way short of the hype. 

Here is why we're not going to watch the super bowl:

Because with the understanding of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) , the sport is no longer building character, but destroying minds. 

Because more Americans know who Tom Brady is, than Iago, or Doctor Alexander Manette.

Because more Americans know the story line of any particular super bowl than the story line of Hamlet, or a Tale of Two Cities (Doctor Manette is a character in the story.)

Because the game has assumed a religious fervor. 

Because Cities and States spend more money on building new football stadiums, than on building new schools. 

Because the Super Bowl becomes a festival of gluttony in a country where children still go to bed hungry at night and go to school hungry in the morning. 

Because the average fan can't afford a ticket to the game. 

Because the average fan can quote the forty-yard dash time of their favourite superstar, but can't run forty yards themselves. 

Because the NFL makes heroes out of people who kill (OJ Simpson and Rae Carruth), people who traffic drugs and plan to kill judges (Darryl Henley), players who beat their girlfriends and spouses (pick a team, every team has at least one), players who sexually harass staff (Brett Favre) and players who beat helpless children (Adrian Peterson).  You can't find a group of people less worthy of admiration. 

Because we are contrarians by nature and when everyone likes something and wants to do it, we want no part of it. 

Because it is in the end, a meaningless game in which men spend hundreds of hours devoted to the minutiae of the game. Spend that time and care and consideration on removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, we say. 

Because in the end, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to anyone but a few dozen players and coaches who wins this game. And those people mean nothing to us. 


So we will not be watching the game. We will be going to a fascinating lecture on Ayurvedic  health and yoga.

But fear not, we will have our picks, including the deadlock winner coin toss, and a special feature available only on your favoritie blog: the REGJB-Super Bowl special prop bets. 
For example, will Judge De La O's Monday calendar have more pages than Broncos TE Owen Daniels has receiving yards? 

Stay tuned, and enjoying super bowl weekend doesn't mean you have to watch the game. 


Friday, February 05, 2016

YOUR NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGE


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

YOUR NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGE IS .....

GINA BEOVIDES

Congratulations to Ms. Beovides; she is 34 years old and has been a member of The Florida Bar for ten years.  She began her career working for the law office of Leon Brunet.  After one year, she joined Miami Dade Legal Aid and she has been an attorney working for them for the past nine years.  Ms. Beovides has been a Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer since 2011.  She is also a member of the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee and also the Vice-Chair of the Family Law Domestic Violence Committee of The Florida Bar.  You can read Ms. Beovides' bio from the Dade Legal Aid web page by going here.

She received both her bachelor's and law degree from UM.  She fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Charlie Johnson to the Circuit Court.

The other five names that went up to the Governor included:  Ramiro Areces, Alexander Spicola Bokor, Karl S.H. Brown, Joe Mansfield, and Julie Nelson.

NORTH OF THE BORDER .......

No changes in the line-up of candidates that have filed to run for Circuit and County Court Judge in Miami-Dade County, but there was a big change in Broweird.

Popular sitting Judge Matthew Destry drew an opponent this week when attorney Brian Greenwald filed to run against him.  Greenwald served in the Broward County PD's office for eight years.  He has been in private practice as a criminal defense attorney for the past three years. Destry is the third sitting Circuit Judge in Broward to draw opposition; (also drawing opponents - Judge Stacy Ross and Judge Barbara McCarthy).

Also in Broward, they have two new Circuit Court Judges.  This week, Governor Scott announced that Ernest Kollra, age 62, and Alberto Rivas, age 48, have earned appointments to the Circuit Court.

Kollra replaces Judge Lynn Rosenthal, who resigned, (in lieu of pending action by The Florida Supreme Court).  He is in private practice in the areas of mobile home law, landlord/tenant, criminal defense, and business law.

Rivas replaces Judge Laura Watson, who was removed from the bench by The Florida Supreme Court.  Rivas has been a member of The Florida Bar for 20 years and has been an ASA in Broward for the past nine years.

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

Thursday, February 04, 2016

WE'RE NUMBER 1

 149 people were found to be falsely convicted and their convictions vacated in 2015. 40% of those were in murder cases. The average prison sentence for these innocent people was fourteen years. 

Again we say, lets go behind the numbers. 

These were cases of people in prison actively investigated. How about people who weren't imprisoned or who were released?  The number will be much higher. 

It is our assumption here that most of those cases involved wrongful identifications, because as we who are in the business all know, personal identifications are some of the worst, most unreliable evidence there is. 

How many more innocent people have to suffer until we fix a broken system? 

Here is the NY Times article. 


In the REGJB Thursday morning, convicted killer Michael Hernandez, who as a juvenile killed a classmate, was back for re-sentencing under the new Supreme Court rules that most juveniles should not be sentenced to life, and all of them should have a meaningful opportunity for release. 

For the first time Hernandez took the stand in his own defense. 
ASA Gail Levine, who moaned about having to listen to weeks and weeks of his phone calls, conducted a soft-spoken and sensitive cross examination. 

You can follow the proceedings on TV and on David Ovalle's twitter at DavidOvalle305.  
No truth to the rumor there is a Gail Levine fan club twitter account. 

See You In Court. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

SILENCE IS THOMAS & PRYOR LETS LOOSE

This month it will be ten years since Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question from the bench during oral arguments. And no, it was not to ask directions to the head. The NY Times has an article on the silence here. 

PRYOR SHOWS NO RESTRAINT. 

Our colleague who blogs the Miami-Federal scene, the ineffable DOM, has this post about Judge Pryor's dissent in a 2254 case. The more we think about it, the more it bothers us. 

Pryor was upset when Judge Jordan and visiting judge Haikala gave a state court petitioner a second federal habeas review. Here is part of what Pryor wrote:

Ace Patterson—a child rapist, kidnapper, and burglar—won the habeas lottery today. The majority gives him a second chance to collaterally attack his convictions in federal court, seventeen years after his trial and nine years after he filed his first federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Most state prisoners are not so lucky, as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act prohibits the filing of a “second or successive” petition for a writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). 


So the cat is out of the bag. 
Apparently if Ace was arrested and convicted for stealing from parking meters (Ala Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke) then Pryor may have joined with the majority. 
At least Pryor hasn't shied from how he makes decisions. He looks at the crime, and if it's heinous enough, he decides to deny relief. Kudos for telling the truth, but that is NOT a judge's job. Judges expect jurors to give any defendant a presumption of innocence. Judges expect jurors not to make a finding of guilt merely because the charge is serious. 

Under Pryor's analysis he would have summarily denied relief  to  Richard Jewell who was for a time considered the main suspect in planting a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, until it turned out he was innocent. 

Pryor should not sit on any more criminal cases in the 11th circuit. He has by his own words demonstrated a bias against any defendant convicted of a serious crime.  If that is the way the judge feels, so be it. But it disqualifies him from sitting on criminal cases where once he sees the seriousness of the crime he works to find a reason to affirm the conviction (Harmless error anyone?)

"The defendant raises serious errors in his trial. However, based on the heinous nature of his crimes, we deny relief.

Visiting Judge Haikala had this to say in concurrence and she hit the nail on the head:

There is no doubt that the conduct that gave rise to Mr. Patterson’s conviction and sentence is heinous, but that conduct has no bearing
upon the legal standard that governs the issue before the Court. As the United States Supreme Court wrote in Chessman v. Teets: “On many occasions this Court has found it necessary to say that the requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment must be respected, no matter how heinous the crime in question and no matter how guilty an accused may ultimately be found to be after guilt has been established in accordance with the procedure demanded by the Constitution.” 354 U.S. 156, 165 (1957). 



Give Judge Pryor props for at least writing what we've all suspected all along. 

See You In Court. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

CHARLEMAGNE v. MIRANDA II

[Based on new blogger guidelines, Rumpole is now reviewing all contributing blogger posts. This post was NOT edited. Nothing was removed. However, in two spots, where The Professor was clearly stating his own personal opinion, we noted that. We have enough problems with out being criticized for blog posts not our own. ]

What is it about these judges that they cannot remember the most basic lesson they are to have learned in Judge 101?  Specifically, how and when is a judge is entitled to find anyone in contempt of court?  How about showing a basic understanding of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.  What is the difference between direct and indirect criminal contempt of court?  When is a defendant required to obtain the court's permission to waive his presence?

Apparently these lessons were lost on Judge Christina Miranda.   At least according to the 3rd DCA,which last Wednesday, granted a second Writ of Habeas Corpus for Jean-Elie Charlemagne.

Initially Charlemagne was charged with the heinous crimes of fleeing and eluding an officer and resisting arrest without violence. It is important to note that his counsel filed a written waiver of his right to be present at any and all pretrial conferences pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.

At a later hearing Judge Miranda held Charlemagne in indirect criminal contempt for failure to comply with court orders for a competency evaluation, and sentenced him to ten days in jail. (Remember  for a person to be held in indirect criminal contempt, a written order to show cause must be served, the defendant arraigned and a trial held, which can be before a jury.)  

Because Judge Miranda did not follow mandatory procedures for holding a person in indirect criminal contempt, the 3rd granted Charlemagne’s Emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, vacated the contempt order entered by the trial court, and directed that Charlemagne be immediately released, and he was.

One would think that would end the saga of Charlemagne's difficulties with Judge Miranda.  But, as Paul Harvey used to say:  "Now the rest of the story."  

A hearing was then calendared before Judge Miranda for “REPORT RE: MANDATE" in regard to the emergency writ. Charlemagne was not present at the start of the hearing, but his counsel was. Judge Miranda inquired whether Charlemagne had been noticed for the hearing. The clerk informed the trial court that Charlemagne had not received notice of the hearing.  Based solely upon the fact that the bondsman had been noticed, and despite the fact that Charlemagne had waived his appearance at hearings for which his presence was not mandated by rule, Judge Miranda issued an alias capias warrant. 

However, Charlemagne appeared 30 minutes later. (Judge Miranda was still on the bench.) She immediately ordered Charlemagne "to have a seat in the box", and despite numerous attempts to obtain his release that day, and several times thereafter, Judge Miranda denied the motions "to let him back out."  (Her words) 

Thus to the 3rd DCA Mr. Charlemagne went again seeking another Emergency Writ of Habeas Corpus. The 3rd not being amused at Judge Miranda's temper tantrum at being redressed by the them, found her conduct to be contrary to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.  They found no legal basis for the alias capias warrant, granted the writ and again ordered Charlemagne's immediate release.  The opinion is found here.

[The following is the personal opinion of contributing blogger The Professor] Behind it all is the clear (but unvoiced) recognition by the panel that Judge Miranda did not like being told she was wrong by judges clearly smarter and more dedicated to the rule of law than she.  Her conduct must have been seen by the 3rd as being nothing less than a childish attempt to get her way.  It was petty, disingenuous and purposely manipulative.

This was so clear to the panel that they closed with the following statement:  "No rehearing will be entertained by the Court, and the mandate shall issue immediately." That is appellate talk for "you are so wrong that we don't want to be bothered by you and this case again."

[The following is again the personal opinion of contributing blogger The Professor] Judge Miranda, grow up.   Be the adult in the room.  Don't be petulant.  You were wrong.  You knew you were wrong then, but you were going to show everyone how smart you are.  Now, not only do we all know you are not, but you have damaged the control of your courtroom and the respect of those who appear before you in the future.  Oh yes, and you owe Mr Charlemagne an apology for your conduct.

One more suggestion, I would not push the 3rd's button on this defendant again.  Unless or until he is convicted and sentenced (and I would be careful there, too), just accept that he will be carrying a get of jail free card.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

IN PRAISE OF JA'S

BREAKING: The Sun Sentinel has the story of a Broward Criminal Defense attorney being caught in flagrente delicto with her client, in the jail, "bent over a table" committing an act that is illegal in the State of Florida unless you are married. 
The lawyer has been banned from all five Broward Jails, which is a shame because we have it on good authority that hundreds of male inmates have called requesting a consultation. Business is good.
Interestingly, the JAA Broward blog is silent on this matter.  

Fred Haddad is representing the lawyer. The lawyer is a former Broward PD and was fired in January from RC4 for "misconduct". 
There is a Bar rule prohibiting lawyers and clients from having sex. 
We were wondering about this. An inmate cannot be deemed to give consent to have sex with a corrections officer, for obvious reasons. If the defendant was a female and the defense attorney male, would there be people wondering if this was a consensual act or if the attorney was coercing the client to engage in sex in exchange for representation? Because if that occurred, that is a crime. Is anyone considering whether this instance could also be a crime? 

Also, we have a post coming up from The Professor. Judge Miranda is having even more trouble with the 3rd DCA and her contempt orders. 

All too often (and always if you dial the 954 area code) Judicial Assistants are impediments to getting access to  courts. 
The phones aren't answered, and when they are you are reduced to begging to get a case on calendar. 
Client dying and you need an emergency motion for bond? Sure, it will be set in two months and the judge requires a motion and memorandum of law, filed in triplicate, translated into Sanskrit, faxed and emailed and hand delivered between the hours of 4:45 and 4:51 P.M., Fridays only. 

We've all experienced horror stories, none worse than the County Court JA who was rude to the Governor's staff who was calling to tell the Judge that he had been appointed to the circuit court. Based on the JA's attitude, the appointment was rescinded in light of the Governor's opinion that his staff needed more training and experience. 

But in no particular order, we bring to you the pleasurable experiences we have had in the last few months with JAs. Starting with Judges De La O,  Tinkler-Mendez and Ruiz, their JAs email you reminders of upcoming court appearances. Very professional and above and beyond the call of duty. 

Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson's staff was praised us in an email recently:
"Dear Rumpole: The other day I had a case in Judge Wolfson's courtroom. The start of court was delayed for some time and as I approached the door and read the sign and then started to walk away the bailiff came out to let me know that the prosecutors were in the courtroom and I could go inside and speak with them. It's a small thing, but as it unfolded it showed me that the Judge has picked a staff who cares."

SHOOT FIRST
The embattled Stand Your Ground law is facing changes in the current legislative session. The legislature is fixin to make  it tougher for prosecutors, shifting the burden of proof during the hearings to the prosecution to disprove that the defendant acted in self -defense.

Coming soon:  some legislators have been heard mumbling that maybe the entire burden of proof should be on prosecutors to prove a defendant guilty. They've even bandied about a law presuming the defendant innocent. 

Meanwhile in death cases, the legislature, in response to criticism that Florida's statute is also unconstitutional because it allows  for a non-unanimous recommendation of death, has dug their collective heels in, not allowing commie-liberal Supreme Court Judges in Washington like Alito, Thomas and Scalia to push them around. Although Florida prosecutors have recommended raising the recommendation for death to 9-3, the legislature has responded by considering lowering the recommendation for death to "anyone who tweets that the defendant deserves to be fried."

We'll keep you updated on the musings of these great legal minds. 

See You In Court.