The Florida Supreme Court Clerk’s Office has confirmed they are in possession of the JQC recommendation from the recent JQC. v. Imperato trial.  It should post on their website shortly.  Until then the recommendation is unconfirmed, but believed to be a 90 day suspension, a $20,000 fine, and a public reprimand, subject to Supreme Court approval …



                      Mike & Michelle

Chris Doherty, owner of 1st Step Sober House, has confirmed the sad news that Mike Fine passed away suddenly this morning from natural causes. He was pronounced dead around noon at the hospital.

Mike was in multiple courtrooms every single day for at least the last ten years, helping people with drug and alcohol addictions through the program he owned, Primary Purpose, and 1st Step, for which he served as Senior Director.  In recovery himself, Mike led by example, having put together all the pieces for a successful life after the usual ravages incurred by substance abuse and addiction. Trusted by judges and prosecutors alike, his word was his bond.

Mike leaves a toddler son, Alton, and his wife Michelle.  He was 49 years old.

Drug Court graduation ceremonies tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM in the jury room will honor Mike, and memorial service information will post shortly.

Rest in peace Chris Roberts

Rest in peace Lance Andrews

Rest in peace Carolynne Williams

Rest in peace Mary Lou Jones


Email from Peter Weinstein to judges:

I will be making some assignments in the next year and wanted to keep you informed.  As a result of the upcoming vacancy in civil division 28 which is a hybrid foreclosure/civil division, Judge Barbara McCarthy has graciously agreed to take over once the new judges come on board.

Judge McCarthy has years of civil experience and due to the large number of foreclosure cases we still have, she will provide some much needed assistance.

That will leave a vacancy in her criminal division.  In addition, I plan to add one new position to dependency based upon the large number of TPR’s pending.  Also, as we are implementing the one family, one judge program we expect the dependency division to be quite busy.

If you have any interest in moving into either of these divisions, or are seeking another change, please see me at your earliest convenience.

Again, thank you Judge McCarthy for stepping up to help us in a very busy division.




ct4holmess angel

Today’s Guest: Ilona Holmes!

Discuss: In light of the Supreme Court’s recent Order dictating unadorned, basic black robes for all judges, should a circuit judge’s bench resemble a personal trophy case?  And should it display religious or near-religious iconography, like a kneeling, praying, winged angel?

Or should the principles enunciated in In Re:  Amendments To The Florida Rules Of Judicial Administration-New Rule 2.340 apply only to judicial dress?


From the Order:

Presiding judges wearing different colored robes or robes with varying embellishments could result in uncertainty for those coming before our courts and serve to counter the efforts the branch has employed to gain the public’s trust. For example, one could question whether there is a “status” attributed to the varying colors or embellishments worn by different judges, e.g., whether the color or embellishment denotes a rank of judge based on tenure, ability, or some other factor—is this judge more or less qualified or maybe the chief judge? Depending on the color or pattern of the robe or the type of embellishment worn, some may wonder whether the presiding judge is a “real judge” or whether the judge will take the proceedings seriously. Robe color also could be seen as a reflection of a judge’s mood or attitude that day. Should a defendant facing the death penalty feel trepidation when the presiding judge appears in a red robe or feel more at ease when the robe is green? The possibility that the unique attire of the judge assigned to one’s case could raise these concerns and thereby diminish public trust and confidence in the proceedings is not acceptable.

The public should not have to guess as to the meaning of different colored, patterned, or embellished robes. Promoting uniformity in judicial attire, by requiring all judges to wear unembellished, solid black robes, will no doubt avoid these concerns and promote public trust and confidence. The people of Florida have a right to expect equal justice every day, in every court in this state, and should not have to question whether equal justice is being dispensed based on the color of a judge’s robe.


Tampa Tribune: It’s basic black for judges says FL Supreme Court

NYT: SCOTUS Questions Florida’s Death Penalty System



Bailiff Steve Palacios has been arrested on Dealing in Stolen Property accusations.  He’s been with Barbara McCarthy for ages.  More to come …

SS: Palacios accused of spending money stolen by ex-wife

Ex-bailiff Preston sentenced for child porn

Herald: Weinstein has time to laud Rosenthal, but not to talk about Broward’s mental health crisis?

SS: Nikki Grossman joining Mel in retirement

SS: Broward Sheriff’s deputy, civilian employee suspended

SS: Dutko and Stark knock Satz’s latest slow pitch out of the park

SS: Satz drops major charges against Koepke and Dodge (8/14)

SS: SCOTUS seals Watson’s fate

BrowardBeat: Lying Causes Downfall Of A Judge…Again

BrowardBeat: Broward Courthouse’s Holiday Gift For Gov. Scott

Coming SoonTwo openings in Satz’s Homicide Unit?


SCOTUS has determined they don’t want to litigate Laura Watson’s plea to remain a Broward circuit judge after all.  Watson v. JQC was formally put to bed today* up in Washington D.C., which means Cindy Imperato is the last woman standing.

Will she follow Watson, Rosenthal, and Pollack into judicial oblivion, ending the most recent run of judicial embarrassments in Broward County on the sternest possible note, or will she survive to face reelection in 2016?

Stay tuned …

* Thanks to Anonymous Tipster

Coming Soon – JUDICIAL DISROBING CEREMONY;  Be concerned if Peter Weinstein thinks someone you care about is “wonderful” …



SS Editorial: Judges get strong message (10/8)

Given the message these justices are sending, Imperato should give serious thought to resigning before the case goes much further …

Thankfully, the Supreme Court is sending a clear message that soft penalties are insufficient for those who would sit in judgment of us.

Given the cloud hanging over the bench in Broward, the high court’s high standards are welcome.

SS: Court is right to reject plea deals from Broward judges (9/18)

SS Editorial: Now public will judge Imperato (12/26/14)

If her appeal fails, she should leave the bench. Even if the appeal succeeds, voters in 2016 — if she runs — would be justified in asking whether her attitudes toward police and breath tests are in keeping with attitudes a circuit judge should display.

DBR: Rosenthal steps down

“The thing that sticks out in my mind is that she was always a very hard worker and always very diligent,” (Peter) Weinstein said. “On a personal level I’ve gotten to know her very well. My wife and I have become very friendly with her and her husband. They are wonderful people, and as a judge she will really be missed.”

SS: Rosenthal resigns

(Peter) Weinstein, the chief administrative judge, praised Rosenthal’s work ethic and said she was an effective judge despite the controversy that ultimately overshadowed her career.

“She’s done a wonderful job,” he said. “Her work ethic and ability in the courtroom were excellent. I just hope we get a replacement who is as hard-working and competent as Judge Rosenthal.”

Weinstein Email To 17th Circuit Judges After News Broke:

I am sorry to report that Judge Lynn Rosenthal has decided to resign her position effective October 31st. This will allow sufficient time to work out coverage for her division.

Judge Rosenthal has worked diligently in each of her assigned divisions and I know I speak for many of you that she certainly will be missed.  I would like to wish her the best.


NBC News: Florida Judge Jails DV Victim

Daily Mail: FL Supreme Court to Remove Judge who beat up APD


DBR: Florida Bar refiles complaint against Laura Watson

BBEAT: Not so fast, SCOTUS To Discuss Laura Watson first …

DBR Profile: Al Milian

DBR: Clerk Candidate Profiles

SS: APD sues cops for allegedly looking at her DL records

Boston Globe: MA bans police stops solely for suspected marijuana

(Justice Margot) Botsford’s opinion followed (high court) rulings in 2011 and last year finding that the odor of burned marijuana alone does not provide grounds for police to order occupants to exit a car, and that the smell of burned or unburned marijuana does not justify searching a vehicle without a warrant …

WA Post: Gloucester, MA cops grant amnesty to drug addicts seeking help (8/17)

NYT: Oregon’s Legal Sale of Marijuana Comes With Reprieve

Oregon was not the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, which happened through a state ballot vote last November, nor is it the largest. But in preparing to begin retail marijuana sales next month, it is nonetheless blazing a profoundly new trail, legal experts and marijuana business people said.

“Oregon is one of the first states to really grapple with the issue of what do you do with a record of something that used to be a crime and no longer is,” said Jenny M. Roberts, a professor of law at American University in Washington, D.C., who specializes in criminal law and sentencing.

In the wake of national public anger over killings by police in New York, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere, landmark California legislation to protect minorities from racial profiling and excessive force won Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature Saturday.

At the same time, the governor issued a blunt warning against the proliferation of laws criminalizing behavior as he rejected a trio of proposals intended to bar the misuse of unmanned drones.

In a forceful veto message, Brown said lawmakers were unnecessarily complicating California’s criminal code, which he said had grown to more than 5,000 provisions “covering every conceivable form of human misbehavior.”

“During the same period, our jail and prison populations have exploded,” Brown wrote. “Before we keep going down this road, I think we should pause and reflect how our system of criminal justice could be made more human, more just and more cost-effective.”

Billboard: Keith Richards Interview (9/10)

“Ninety-nine percent of the male population of the Western world — and beyond — would give a limb to live the life of Mick Jagger, and he’s not happy being Mick Jagger.”

Ilona Holmes, Actor
Ilona Holmes, Actor

YouTube: Ilona Holmes discusses how she gets into character