Sunday, October 04, 2015

NFL 2015 WEEK 4

We had another monster week last week, going 8-1 in our picks. Sitting at week four with a fat bankroll, it's now all about money management. If you have been following us and you have a similarly  large wallet, you now want to get your money in when you have the best of it, and keep it on the sidelines when the odds are not in your favor. 

Remember: "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned." Fast Eddie Felson. 

JETS vs Dolphins, London. Games in our town tend to be field goal fests. There is nothing here we like, but if you made the trip, and a few blog readers have, and want some action,  the London books have the Fins getting 2.5 and the o/u is 42.5. Take the J E T S Jets Jets Jets and go under. The line on the Dolphin's HC surviving another loss is equally dim. There is not enough money is the Western Hemisphere to lure Bill Cower here. 

Riding a winning streak means taking the Raiders, -2 in Chi town over the hapless Bears. 

Chargers at home -7 , over the Browns, who can't get out of their own way.  David Ovalle is happy at the end of the day, especially if he puts a few Herald dollars on his own team. 

Cardinals are another team riding a winning streak. Give the 7 at home in Arizona over the Rams, who are struggling. Take the over 43. The Cards can do that on their own. 


Friday, October 02, 2015




More than a few times on this BLOG, our founder, Horace Rumpole, has written on his feelings about minimum mandatory sentences.  You can read those posts here and here and
here and here and here and here and here and even as far back as July 30, 2010 found here.

On Wednesday, Governor Scott and the Florida Cabinet held their quarterly Clemency Meeting in Tallahassee.  The Clemency Board is made up of Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The Governor and members of the Cabinet collectively are the Clemency Board. Clemency is an act of mercy that absolves the individual upon whom it is bestowed from all or any part of the punishment that the law imposes.

Article IV, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution provides that an executive order granting clemency requires the signature of the Governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet.

So, to be clear, nobody can receive clemency in Florida without the support of the Governor.

For those interested in reading the Rules of Executive Clemency, you can find them here.

On Wednesday, Orville "Lee" Wollard, sought clemency from Rick Scott.  In short order, Gov. Scott denied Wollard's request without the other three members of the Board even having a chance to weigh in on the matter.  Wollard was sentenced to 20 years in prison, under the 10-20-Life law, for committing an Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, (and discharging that Firearm), but hitting nothing more than a wall, in his home.  The case was dubbed the "Warning Shot" case. 

Lee Wollard was a family man who was living with his wife and two teenage daughters in Central Florida.  He worked for Sea World.  He was educated, earning an AA, a BA, and then a Masters degree in Business Management and Organizational Behavior, all the while working full time and attending night school.  On the date of the crime, Wollard's daughter's boyfriend attacked his daughter giving her a black eye.  He then attacked Wollard.  He left the house, only to return and confront Wollard again.  This time Wollard got his gun, and told the boy to leave his home.  The boy punched a hole in the wall and came at Wollard.  At that point Wollard, instead of shooting the boy, fired a warning shot into the wall.  You can read the entire history of the case here.

As for the Clemency case, it was covered by the Tampa Bay Times: "Wollard, 60, of Davenport, a former human resources specialist at Sea World, is almost midway through a 20-year term for firing a warning shot at his teenage daughter's boyfriend at his Polk County home in 2008 after the youth attacked him and tried to tear off his stitches. Under sentencing laws -- since changed by Scott and the Legislature -- the crime of aggravated assault with a firearm carried a minimum mandatory term of 20 years."

The article went on to say: "The Legislature last year cited Wollard's case when it rewrote state law to provide criminal immunity in cases of the threatened use of force. But the law was not retroactive, so it doesn't apply to Wollard's case. Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, said Wednesday that he didn't understand why prosecutor Hill was so adamant about keeping Wollard imprisoned when he had offered him a plea deal of five years felony probation."

Yes, you read that correctly.  The plea offer in the case was Five Years Probation.  But, when Wollard rejected the plea offer and took his chances with the jury, his gamble did not pay off.  They found him Guilty as Charged and the sentencing Judge had no choice - he had to sentence Wollard to the mandatory 20 years in prison.

You can read the entire sad story here. 

Governor Scott had the ability to right a wrong here, but chose instead, the easy way out.  He showed no mercy to Lee Wollard.


As I reported in the Comments section earlier this week, a new candidate has filed to run for Judge in 2016. He is Luis Perez-Medina. He has been a member of the Florida Bar for nine years. He has filed to run for Circuit Court Judge. He has filed in Group 34, a seat being vacated by the retirement of Judge Gill Freeman. Two other candidates have already filed to run in that Group including Renee Gordon and Denise Martinez-Scanziani.

UPDATED: We apologize for getting Mr. Perez-Medina's name wrong.  FYI, Mr. Perez-Medina was a DC in Cueto, Sigler, and Hendon.  He is currently assigned to the Public Corruption Unit.

Who is Luis Perez-Medina?  If you know anything about this veteran of the State Attorney's Office, please chime in.

Currently there are five contested elections including four in Circuit Court and one race in County Court.  There are also four sitting Circuit Court judges up for reelection in 2016 that have not yet filed indicating their intention to run again.  They include Judge Scott Bernstein, Judge Rosa Rodriguez, Judge Nushin Sayfie, and Judge John Schlesinger.  We have communicated with three of the four judges, all but Rosa Rodriguez, and each of the three judges have told us that they intend to file for reelection.  In County Court, incumbent judges up for reelection in 2016 that have not yet filed include Judges Wendell Graham, Judith Rubenstein, and Fred Seraphin.  Only Judge Graham has confirmed to us his intention to run; we have not yet heard back from the other two judges.

And to take you into the weekend, we leave you with a scene from one of our all-time favorite movies, and one of the classic cross-exams of all time: MAGIC GRITS


Thursday, October 01, 2015


Leslie Rothenberg, formerly of the Dade State Attorneys Office, the Circuit Court bench, a putative run at the State Attorney position, and currently on the 3rd DCA, has been elected chief Judge of the 3rd DCA starting Summer, 2017. 

And to think, we knew her when.


The only thing missing from this Miami-Dade State Attorney Office Facebook page is a selfie of the prosecutors.  On the Facebook page on this post is a picture of the defendant, defeated, cuffed, in custody. 

Thank you to prosecutors Kimberly Archila and David Emas for all the hard work in this case under difficult circumstances.

A long time ago, a coach once told us "son, when you score, act like you've been there before." 

We've always tried to follow that philosophy with jury trials. But our SAO doesn't.  Tsk. Tsk. 

Judge Steve Leifman has ruled…. the red light camera system does not comply with state law. You can get your red light camera ticket dismissed. Just call 1-888-rum-ptix, and we will take care of it for you. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


It was bound to happen. 

An attorney in Milwaukee won a  first degree murder trial. 
Then he took a selfie with his client. 
Then he posted it on Facebook. 
Then he got into trouble with the court. 
The story is here. 

Query: What is the difference between the attorney taking a selfie and an enterprising reporter taking a picture of the attorney with his arm around his client on the courthouse steps after an acquittal ( an emotional scene we have taken part in several dozen times)? 

It might not be the brightest thing to do. But we don't see it as violating any court order or Bar rule. A win is a win is a win. 


What is it about the feds that causes them not to just act snooty and superior to state court, but makes them trash state court whenever they can take a cheap shot? 

David Ovalle tweeted this today when covering a sentencing hearing:

When it bogged down, Judge Lenard even told lawyers "This is NOT state court" where judge rubberstamps the agreed upon plea-deal sentence

Judge Leonard, who we might remind her, started as a judge in state court, made the statement during a sentencing hearing where both the prosecution and defense made the same recommendation for a sentence.

We actually think more state court judges should not rubber stamp plea deals in state court. But why the cheap shot?

Item: The Russians are establishing a military presence in Syria. The last time they did some thing adventurous it was in Afghanistan circa 1978-79.

"History repeats itself first as a tragedy, then as a farce."
Karl Marx.

See You In Court, where unlike federal court, we can plea out more than one case an hour. Efficient use of court time, tax dollars, etc.

Monday, September 28, 2015


In Dade County it is common for those of us who practice in the REGJB to file for arraignment purposes one document that is 1) a notice of appearance; 2) plea of not guilty; 3) demand for discovery. 

Which is why on the e-filing menu they do not give you an option to file that document. There is a document entitled "notice of appearance and plea" without defining what the plea is. There is a demand for discovery document. But there is not one document covering all that we file. Of course. Your state tax dollars at work. And while we are complaining, when we file a document on a criminal case, the SAO does not automatically appear as a party and we have to add them with some ridiculous email address like " miami prosecution no plea without speak with supervisor and supervisor's supervisor and victim and police officer and victim's supervisor and police officer's supervisor.com" which is a lot to write every time you try and file a document. 

Or are we doing something wrong? 

As most of the nation legalizes or decriminalizes marijuana, the Miami State Attorneys office is seeking a three year minimum mandatory for a defendant who was growing marijuana for his wife who is dying of cancer. As we now sit here Monday morning, the following has occured;
1) the defendant was convicted of growing marijuana and has been incarcerated;
2) his dying wife no longer has her caretaker;
3) we will be paying for the defendant to be incarcerated;
4) thousands of people are making millions of dollars growing marijuana in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Hialeah. In three out of those four places, the growers face no threat of criminal prosecution.  

Does common sense call for a resolution here? Or will we be a safer society knowing this man is behind bars? 
Come on Ms. Rundle, show a little leadership, not to mention common sense and a little heart. 

We went 8-1 in our picks yesterday. And if you think we are on fire with our picks, you should see our Draft Kings account$$$$. 

GAMBLING!!! (Shhhhs.)
BTW- if an enterprising blog reader sets up a Draft Kings private league, with, say, a $5 entry fee, we can all enter and play for money and have fun until the Dade SAO opens an investigation into GAMBLING IN THE COURTHOUSE!!!!, which they are free to do once they finish their own picks for the week, not to mention the NCAA bracket pools for money which has been around in that office since, well, since bell bottom pants were in fashion. But keep prosecuting those marijuana cases. It's noble work you all are doing. 

See You In Court, where prosecutors in glass houses with glass bongs shouldn't throw stones. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

NFL Week 3 2015

ORIGINAL SURVIVOR POOL. Give props to these fantastic four. Two picks for cheating deflators (Jags have never ever won in Gillette Stadium)  and two picks for the Seahawks. We will either wash out or have a week four. If we wash out then these four will continue. See, survivor pool rules. 2015, 2B.1(iv)(c-d).  

SURVIVOR POOL II. ENTER NOW. SEND AN EMAIL WITH THE SUBJECT LINE POOL B. Update: we have a pool! Will post later. Send in your picks if you haven't already. 

Mad-dog corner: Doggy had a tough week last week, going 0-3. He tries to bounce back this week with these picks:  Indy -3 in a short week,  over Tennessee.  Eagles even over the Jets in New Jersey.  Broncos -3 over Lions.

Denver at Detroit. Sunday night. The visiting Broncos have ten days rest, are playing at night, in-doors, against a mediocre Lions team. Maybe the Broncos have issues on offense. But they will be ready. Give the 3, take the Broncos who go to 3-0. Over 44.5. 

Raiders + 3.5  at Cleveland. Weird things occurring at the mistake by the lake. Meanwhile, the Raiders who were 0-8 on the road last year, have an above average offense. They can hang with the Browns, who have an emerging QB controversy. Take the team on the rise. Take the over 41.5. WIN (Raiders) and WIN (over total was 47). 

Cardinals -6 1/2 at home over 49'ers. This is a trap game. The 49'ers were never in the game last week, and our theory about teams regressing to the norm would have the high flying Cardinals coming down to earth a bit, and the 49'ers bouncing back. But theories are for chumps. This  Cardinals team was doing something special last year until Carson Palmer went down, followed by every other back-up QB they brought in. The Cardinals are superbly coached by Bruce Arians, and WR Larry Fitzgerald made us a ton of money last week in our Draft Kings games. Take the over 44.5.

Bills + 3 1/2 over the Fins. Another Bounce back game for one of these two teams. Instincts tell us the Fins come back, but we just don't like Miami's coaching. Plus theior players stink. The Bills are starting a rookie QB on the road for his first road game. You can easily make a case for the Fins. But we like the Bills defense and at the moment the Bills QB. If the Fins lose this one, the wheels come off the bus and it will be a long season.  Also take the over 41.5.

Jets vs Eagles. When you're wrong, you're wrong. Un-like certain individuals who wear robes, we admit it on the rare occasion when we make a mistake. The J..E..T…S  are for real. Superbly coached (as opposed to the Dolphins). As good a D as there is in NFL. And a passable Offense circa Ravens 2000. This team will complete.  Under 46.5 today. And just for fun we have the Jets in a few multi-team parlays. This is a classic bounce back game for Eagles. And like the Fins, if they fail today, the wheels come off the bus for the season. So don't put any big money on the game.  WIN (under total was 41). 

Friday, September 25, 2015


BREAKING: DEFENSE LOSES IN MARIJUANA GROW HOUSE TRIAL- defense was medical necessity- That Defendant grew marijuana for his wife who had cancer. Jury rejected offer for  pizza for dinner (no munchies) and returned a guilty verdict a few hours after deliberating. 
Rumpole #1 rule for trials: avoid Friday afternoon verdicts!! 
Judge Al Milian took defendant into custody. (3 yr min man and all that). PD took the loss, ASA David Emas for the win. 

Pardon us for a moment- we usually never intrude on a post. A few late Friday house keeping items. 

Pool II: We will run a survivor pool B if we get ten entrants. It will be difficult enough to keep everyone straight. Please put "B POOL" in the subject of your pick for each week. We will run it if we get ten entrants. Fbpool12 at gmail 

"You're fired"- Did a judge fire a JA by text recently? 

Ineffectual, incapable of controlling his own caucus, John Boehner, resigns.  A true believer in the institution, who has been in a Republican leadership role since the days of Newt Gingrich, Boehner was never able to establish or invoke any real successful legislative agenda.  Besieged by radicals in his own party, he was re-elected to the Speakership earlier this year by the smallest majority since the Great Depression.

What will he do with his last month in office?  Will he throw the Senate approved compromise Immigration Bill out on the floor for an open vote?  If he does, it will pass.  Immigration will no longer be an issue in the 2016 election.  He could cut the legs off of candidates like the Trumpster, Huckabee, and others.  He would give a boost to Bush and Rubio (who disavowed this bill, even though he sponsored it).

Will he now allow an open vote on the Continuing Resolution without the defunding of Planned Parenthood?   Will he do all the things that he knew required bi-partisan support by sitting down with Pelosi and pushing bills through?

What a way to redeem your legacy, and rid yourself of the monicker of being the weakest Speaker in the history of our Republic.