34 for 1

The following individuals have applied for 17th Circuit Hearing Officer, to replace Phoebee Francois, who has been appointed to the county court:

Rotem Adar
Thomas Arden
Lilleth Faith Bailey
Garett Michael Berman
Rita B. Berry
Karen E. Black-Barron
Tracey Renee Burton
Cynthia J. Dienstag
Pedro E. Dijols
Laura C. Garvin
Maria A. Guitian-Barker
Julie S. Harris
Tara Hotchkiss Horvitz
Caleb Seth Johnston
Steven Alan Klinger
Bradley E. Lolus
James E. Lowry, III
Stephnie Matalon
Charise A. Morgan-Joseph
Christopher A. Narducci
Michael S. Oback
Elisha Page
Bernadine Philippe
Sarah Carmen Prieto
Patricia Murphy Propheter
Lisa Robinson
Jamie Amber Rodriguez
Michael Andrew Rosenberg
Peter Sapak
Damary Valle Stokes
Matthew Tannenbaum
Mario R. Theodore
Madeleine Torres
Jeri Woody


There are a lot of judges resigning these days, and rumor has it more to come.  And we’re not talking about the ones retiring at the end of their terms due to age either.

Is Broward in the middle of a historic purge, as has been suggested in the comments section?  Or is it simply a coincidence that judges are quitting sixty days after paying thousands of dollars to qualify for a new six-year term, or even more abruptly?

Due to the dearth of print investigative journalism in Broward, we may never find out if there’s more to it than a bunch of judges deciding to cash in their pension chips.  The JQC has a lot of rules regarding when or if they’ll tell if they were even involved, a much criticized secrecy problem that’s been debated for years.  And with Broward already suffering a massive credibility gap brought on by decades of weak, ineffective leadership, a stunning lack of accountability, substance abuse, nepotism, patronage, and political considerations often trumping the needs of the community, the latest round of disappearing judges certainly isn’t helping.

Accordingly, the following email was sent to Jack Tuter earlier today:

I am writing an article for the courthouse blog concerning the recent spate of judicial resignations.

Of particular concern is whether or not non-compliance with the standards, canons, and other rules and regulations required of all judges precipitated any of the resignations.

With the secrecy rules binding the JQC, it is impossible to know if they were involved or what may have transpired, but as Chief Judge it is certain you know more than others, including information that may not be covered by JQC secrecy standards.

The reason for the request is to help illuminate the public as to what has happened with all the resignations, since all judges are public servants. Also, of equal importance, absent any type of formal recognition by you or the JQC, if the JQC was indeed involved in any of the situations, the didactic imperative of a chief judge or a disciplinary body such as the JQC to help inform judges in Broward and across Florida of the potential penalties for certain proscribed behavior that may not be clearly spelled out in administrative orders or canons would not be achieved, which could possibly lead to further judicial impropriety and additional great cost to judicial integrity and the taxpayers if discipline or removal proceedings become necessary.

Let’s hope Tuter responds, because the public has a right to know …

The email to Jack Tuter printed in italics above was sent from a newly created email address.  Possibly, someone in judicial administration may have made sure all our other email addresses previously used to query Tuter and other judges are now blocked, with send attempts greeted by the message pictured directly above.  Is it a glitch, or a response to catching the chief judge in written faux pas before posting blog articles?  Whatever it is, at least new email addresses are both limitless and free

I’m Judge Diaz, candidate for county court“.  Bobby Diaz introduces himself back in May at the judicial candidates ethics forum held before every election season …

Pete Holden before the JNC …

And Frank Ledee too.  With the recent resignations there are now three circuit spots and one county seat to be filled …

Still no coffee in sight, although we’re told the jury room is getting a java vending machine solely for those under subpoena …

Truth in advertising, SoCo, Austin, Texas, Friday night …

PB’s Dana Santino booted AFTER public finding of JQC probable cause 

NOT COMING SOONProfessionalism Panels for Judges; Rotation for judges and chief judge term limits …


July 9th – start date for Marina Garcia-Wood in criminal, replacing Bill Haury.

August 6th Tom Coleman’s start date in criminal, replacing Mike Rothschild, who is departing for the family division.  Andrea Gundersen to criminal rumor is still unconfirmed …

Appointment/No Appointment? – has Rick Scott decided who will be replacing Claudia Robinson on the county bench?  We’ve left a couple of messages with Daniel Nordby in the Governor’s legal department trying to find out, but to no avail.  Phoebee Francois, Tabitha Blackmon, Mark Kushner, Michele Ricca, Hunter Davis, and Claudette Vanni were sent up for consideration on April 5th …

Open to the Public – the Ehrlich/Porter JNC circuit court interviews will take place June 19th in the courthouse, room 1882, from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

July 6 is the Deadline … for applications to replace Michael Gates on the circuit court …

SS Editorials – the Sentinel’s picks for judge are starting to roll in.  First off, they like Mike Heise over Bobby Diaz.

From the editorial, found here:

Broward County Judge Robert Diaz has served citizens well during his 26 years on the bench, but it’s time for him to take a well-deserved retirement …

The best judges rarely draw election challengers because they’re tough to beat. But this is not the first time Diaz, 65, has drawn an opponent, in part because he finds himself in the middle of controversy from time to time.

The latest kerfuffle stems from his practice of calling females in his courtroom “Miss.” Earlier this year, Assistant State Attorney Adrianna Alcalde complained when Diaz continued to call her “Miss” despite her objections …

He said that if he called everyone “counsel,” every attorney in his courtroom would respond. Diaz said he considers the term respectful, but that he had called both women to say he meant no disrespect by using that appellation.

The “miss” issue has been covered on JAABLOG, so it was a surprise to hear that Diaz had contacted Alcalde, who stated earlier today “I have never received a call from him.  Ever.”

We’ll try to follow-up with Diaz to clarify on both this apparent miscommunication, and the earlier problems he had with Jack Tuter regarding Rafael Olmeda’s in-court identification as a reporter …

Cawthon for county Corey Cawthon gets the nod from the SS over Tanner Demmery and Leonore Greller

SS: Broward wrestles with court reporter shortage

Online criminal scheduling pilot program – go to calendar@17th.flcourts.org to schedule hearings with Dennis & Tim Bailey, Andy Siegel, Martin Fein, Ernie Kollra, and Chris Pole …

Allen-Rosner 1, Minsk Donoho 0 – we’re told Minsk Donoho has failed at the trial court level to push Allen-Rosner down the ballot, although there is no order by Mily Rodriguez-Powell yet showing on Odyssey …

Going to North Satellite is not a total waste of time …