5 way race

Attorney Sean Conway is seeking to succeed Howard Finkelstein in 2020, joining Gordon Weekes, Ruby Green, Jim Lewis, and Tom Lynch, whose filing is found here.

From an email from Sean this morning:

“I am filing this week to become Broward’s next Public Defender!

In memory of my father, Jack Conway, an Irish citizen, who had always encouraged me to run some day, I had planned to announce it this St. Patrick’s Day.  It is something I have been planning to do for a very long time.  I really liked working for Al Schreiber, back when you and I were trial partners there.  It genuinely felt like a place where people enjoyed coming to work.  

Here are a few ideas I want to talk to the voters about:  

*I see no reason why every attorney who receives a taxpayer salary should not have a case load – even the elected PD.  Having ran my own private practice for the past 14 years, I see no reason why a lawyer cannot both supervise and represent people;

*Why does a taxpayer-funded agency call up every newly arrested inmate to ask if they need a lawyer?  I would make sure each jail has a free line to call the PD’s office & the office would also monitor all inmates to see if they are in there without any charges having been filed, or if they are being held without bond.  But the private defense Bar and bailbond agencies used to handle that quite efficiently, and I see no reason to go in and solicit additional criminal defense work on behalf of the taxpayers.    

* Also, I would work with the new Sheriff to get that Jail-Video link Mr. Schreiber had established back up & running again.  Not only did that Jail-Video link save time for the attorneys, but also less work for the BSO corrections deputies; 

* I would explore the idea of all attorneys being permitted to do limited, outside legal work (non-criminal), with certain policies in place;

*Lastly, if I am chosen by the voters, nobody at the PD office loses their job just because I am elected.  Everyone starts with a clean slate.  Even if you openly support other candidates – all I am asking for is your vote.  I have seen the tragedy which befalls other offices around the State when there is a change in administration.  It is not fair to the clients, for one thing – but also people should be able to express their political opinions without fear of repercussions … “


The race for Public Defender may be getting a lot more interesting soon.  In addition to Gordon Weekes, Ruby Green, and Jim Lewis, retired judge Tom Lynch is also seriously considering throwing his hat in the ring to replace Howard Finkelstein in 2020.

As the rumors reached fever pitch this week, Tom was asked for a comment this morning.  Here’s what he had to say:

”I’m leaning heavily to run for the public defender, and will make my final decision soon. If I run I will file in early April. I have had encouraging phone conversations with a number of people. I was hired as a public defender before I was even a lawyer. Al Schreiber was the best boss I ever had. The public defenders office taught me how to become a trial lawyer. I was always extremely proud to be a public defender. I believe the office can be run better. I’m told there is low morale, and I believe the focus should be on everyone trying cases.”

Interestingly, Tom’s decision may impact the candidacy of another rumored hopeful, Josh Rydell.  

When asked about Lynch, here’s what Rydell said:

”Based on conversations I have had with retired judge Tom Lynch, I will not be running for public defender and look forward to working diligently with Tom on his campaign as we both have a similar vision for the office.”

Whether or not a Lynch filing impacts the candidacies of any of the already filed individuals remains to be seen …

OTHER NEWS – Al Pollock for Sheriff; Congratulations to Terrence Lynch, BSO’s New General Counsel …


Brenda’s quest to sit on the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors has failed.  Unbeknownst to us, she had applied to be a lawyer overseer on January 4th, after falsely complaining to the Bar about JAABLOG’s supposedly aggressive behavior, which was also claimed in her now discredited lawsuit.

Jack Thompson, one time blog foe and now friend, sent over the Dear Brenda letter pictured above, and we followed up today with the Bar’s PIO, who provided Forman’s redacted application, found here.  The Bar could not recall a Constitutional Officer ever applying for the Board of Governors over the last twelve years or so, but a thorough records check was not requested, and has not been done at this time.

As far as Brenda’s motives in wanting to participate in formulating and adopting matters of policy concerning the activities of the Bar, the application doesn’t mention whether or not JAABLOG played a role.  In any event, her written statement regarding “how important it is to stay on the honest and right side of the law” is welcome, given the mixed messages previously offered by Mark Speiser in her guardianship debacle, and her affidavits and assertions now wholly contradicted by video in Brenda v. Blog

The above photograph of shackled juveniles being led to court in the North Wing of the central courthouse was not taken years ago, when people like Vic Tobin and Peter Weinstein were campaigning hard for a new courthouse tower.  It was, in fact, taken this morning, and is representative of the still daily medieval display that the now built, expensive new courthouse was supposed to eliminate.

Given Jack Tuter’s recent plea in the DBR to “encourage anyone involved in the court system to give us input on changes we can make to be more efficient,” the following email was sent this afternoon to the chief judge:

” … I am requesting a meeting to give input on how we can address the shameful practice of parading shackled juveniles in the public hallways of the North Wing.”

Of course, since Tuter has blocked JAABLOG from sending emails directly to all judges after some embarrassing word snafus, the message bounced back, which is why it’s being posted here …

JQC v. KOLLRAhere is the Sun Sentinel on the most recent example of a Broward judge stepping in it.  It’s the “Is the rumored impending JQC action merely a campaign violation case?” that we mentioned back on December 5th.  And as far as Dennis Bailey’s proposed JQC settlement, there’s still no direction from the Supreme Court …

SS: Path to court for shackled Broward juveniles is shameful spectacle (2010)

” … When Broward County builds a new courthouse, the problem will be solved, (Tobin) said, because separate, private pathways for juveniles will be designed and built into it … “


Kathy Pugh sent the following email message this morning, after early voting tallies for Jack Tuter’s unopposed run for a new term as chief judge were satisfied:

I am pleased to announce that Chief Judge Jack Tuter  has been re-elected by a majority vote of all active Judges for another two year term beginning July 1, 2019.


Coming Soon – Is Jack Tuter Broward’s newest chief judge for life?


Anyone hoping to see Brenda swear an oath before Bill Altfield on January 31st and discuss her discredited and baseless claims against JAABLOG are out of luck.  The hearing was dismissed sans colloquy last week.

The interesting thing is the near conniption displayed by her legal team at just the thought of Forman having to appear in court and answer a few questions.

Instead of a simple reply email to Altfield’s JA along the lines of “no thank you, Madam Clerk is too busy with her official duties to attend the proposed colloquy,” Tom Loffredo filed the previously posted Motion To Cancel January 31, 2019 Hearing, and on January 25th, this strongly worded anti-JAABLOG Petitioner’s Motion To Strike Respondent’s Objection To Petitioner’s Motion To Cancel January 31, 2019 Hearing in response to our previously posted Objection.

If you believe her lawyer, Brenda is the victim here.  Let’s just hope he’s getting paid, so it’s not a total waste of GrayRobinson’s resources.

As for the rest of us, it’s time once again to grin and bear the latest example of an unprofessional and unaccountable Broward Constitutional Officer embarrassing her office and the judicial circuit, at least until 2020 …

Coming SoonWhere’s the DBR, and why?

SS – Howard Forman accuses estranged wife of frivolous incompetency claim (2018)

Tuesday’s hearing, which is set to resume Wednesday, continues the bitter end of a marriage that began to unravel publicly after Brenda Forman was elected to succeed her husband as clerk of courts.

Earlier on Tuesday, she faced the possibility of a contempt ruling for failing to show up for the Dec. 5 hearing that dismissed her incompetency petition. Through her lawyer, she told Speiser that she had withdrawn her petition that morning and that she was in Orlando at a mandatory training event for clerks. The judge accepted her explanation and did not hold her in contempt …


The video (w/audio) from December 5th is now available, titled:

I’m going to go file a domestic violence charge” … Gelin was at the BSO Substation in the main lobby of the courthouse, had met with Sgt. Hernandez and Deputy Francis, specifically to start the process for retrieving the Oct 16th video … ironically, right after the meeting, here comes Brenda for a public DL workshop, just in front of the BSO Substation.

Here’s what Brenda swore to in her original petition: (click to enlarge)

And here’s Dian Diaz’s statement from the supplemental affidavit filed December 13th:

Compare and contrast all the supplemental statements from Brenda’s employees filed on December 13th to the available video here

Coming SoonDecember 12th video!


Here’s the surveillance video from October 16th.  We’ll be posting other videos from December 5th and 12th as time allows.

Video 1 – Far Away View … clearly shows Gelin coming off elevator … Forman puts hand up and says something along the lines of “Get this man out of my face!” while Gelin is taking out camera …

Video 2 – Close Up ViewStarts with Brenda hugging BSO Deputy Francis on second floor … Gelin comes off elevator from court to take walking bridge over to felony … sees Forman and takes out camera … Forman quickly disappears into Clerk’s Office …

From Brenda’s restraining order petition: (click to enlarge)

From Brenda’s Bar Complaint and BSO report:

And Ed Hoeg in the Sun Sentinel: