BY ELIHU SMALLS

Brenda v. Blog has attracted a lot of attention, and now a new guest author, Elihu Smalls. His post is an update on the ongoing search for two new federal judges.  As reported by the SDFLA Blog, Raag Singhal is a front-runner for one seat, while perennial government application-filler John Couriel is being talked about for the other.

Smalls’ post is more “R” than the usual JAABLOG fare, but the timing is perfect, given the unconfirmed rumor that the Bar’s 1st Amendment IP Address attack may be a trial balloon in line with Donald Trump’s desire to modify free speech when it concerns public figures. In any event, as always, anyone seeking to publish coherent and relevant articles on JAABLOG, or looking for equal time, can drop us a line.

And without further ado, here’s Mr. Smalls:

Can Jeb Bush loving candidate be your next Federal Judge?

Who is the next Federal Judge appointment?

Word is that Rubio, who President Donald Trump used to call “little” Marco, and the President have been close due to Rubio’s activity in the Senate. Due to that closeness, the President takes his recommendations seriously. 

So who is Marco Rubio’s rumored recommendation for a Federal Seat in the Southern District? John Couriel, a Miami Lawyer. 

The only problem? Well it seems that Marco Rubio thinks the White House will have a short term memory lapse.

John Couriel was also a leading applicant for the US Attorney position that was recently filled by the Honorable Ariana Fajardo.  

It’s been told that during that interview process, there was a discussion about Bush and Trump that could have cost Couriel the job. The fact Couriel wrote-in Bush’s name on the ballot in 2016 wasn’t missed either.

So now the question remains: will the President’s loyalty to Marco Rubio overshadow putting someone on the bench that was anti-Trump? Will the President’s ego let him kneel to the political power of Marco Rubio to appoint John Couriel?

This is going to be a HOT summer on the Federal Bench!

Elihu Smalls

SERVICE DOG TRANSCRIPT

As promised, here is the transcript concerning Dennis Bailey’s now withdrawn canine ban in State v. Myron Rosner.

There’s a reference on page 6/7 to a conversation concerning the dog from a prior hearing, right after Bailey notes other people can help the paraplegic if he falls down and the dog isn’t present.  When that transcript becomes available, we will be sure to post …

(skip to page 24, after reading beginning)

KNOW YOUR BAR!

Here’s the promised most recent development in Brenda v. Blog.

Waiting for this one to come out has been like waiting on the stork, but Rafael Olmeda did a fine job.

Now that the 1st Amendment cavalry has arrived, we’ll be updating later with all the many thoughts and concerns surrounding the Bar’s rather bizarre maneuver.

In the meantime, Kerrie Crockett, the ASA  handling the executive assignment investigation concerning Brenda’s actions, has been brought up to speed, and we’ve asked her to broaden the inquiry to include all of Brenda’s interactions with Bar personnel, just in case they’ve once again been misled.

FRIDAY NOTES

Are You A Racist? – of course you’re not, but what are you doing to combat institutional racism in the criminal justice system?  The three photos above were taken in three different courtrooms this morning, and could have been duplicated in many others if time had allowed.  Unfortunately, the same scene plays out all over the felony divisions on a daily basis, as the failed War on Drugs and attendant collateral effects continue to take their toll unabated in Broward and elsewhere across Florida.

There is hope, however.  For the first time a former public defender is president of the Florida Bar, Michelle Suskauer.  Mutual friends have told us she’s a dedicated and caring practitioner, and she has taken unprecedented steps to lead the Bar in the right direction on criminal justice reform.  Read her “A Hard Look At Our Criminal Justice System” and a report on “The inaugural Florida Bar Criminal Justice Summit“, commenced under Suskauer’s leadership, a great first step.

Our concern, however, is a familiar one to anyone who has been reading around here since 2006.  We don’t see any mention in the report or in her address of the driving problems of selective enforcement and other components of institutional racism that plague the system, and since we weren’t at the Summit, sent this email off to Suskauer earlier today:

 “I am writing to inquire as to the steps you and the Bar have taken in regards to criminal justice reform. I have reviewed what is available online regarding a recent symposium, but am not aware if institutional racism, selective enforcement of the laws, overrepresention of minorities in the system, and racial disparity of sentencing of minorities has been addressed or is to be addressed at later dates.  Please detail what has been discussed or is to be discussed at future symposiums and meetings to combat the above referenced problems and others along those lines addressed in scholarship by Michelle Alexander (“The New Jim Crow“) and others.”
Michelle, for her part, was quick to reply that she has forwarded the email to the Bar’s “communications department” for a response, which we’ll post upon arrival.  It’s hoped the driving issues underpinning the mass incarceration epidemic were indeed discussed and prioritized, but if not, that dialogue can surely be started under Suskauer’s leadership …
Disrespectful! Disrespectful! – the photo above is from this afternoon’s robing, where maybe a few more judges decided to turn up then were at the last one we documented.  Is it a respect problem, or something bigger?  Jack Tuter seems to think it’s the former, as seen in the email below that he sent around earlier this week, although at this point it’s getting hard to tell exactly what’s going on with the judiciary …
Waiting on transcriptsMike Glasser reports his situation with Barbara McCarthy was resolved yesterday to the benefit of his client, although some interesting things were reportedly said on the record.  We’ll let you know as soon as the transcripts from that hearing, and from the service dog situation, arrive …
COMING SOON – The FBI?

SUGGESTION BOX

JAABLOG should update later today, but with Broward County in the midst of another ongoing round of seemingly incurable dysfunction at the highest levels, we wanted to solicit suggestions to be included in a planned letter to Charles Canady, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

As was the case back in 2007, there is no longer hope that the 17th Circuit’s judicial administration is able or willing to address and cure ongoing problems within the courthouse.  It is hoped the Chief Justice can travel to South Florida to not only address the judges, but also concerned members of the public, as his predecessor Fred Lewis did years ago.

While the sensitivity and diversity training implemented by Lewis in 2007 was obviously not a cure, it did go a long way to restoring confidence in our most august institutions.  Even a handshake and a reassuring “we hear you“, as Lewis did with us and others in attendance, is enough of a building block to start and infuse the process of healing and improving with real meaning and energy.  The very fact that he took the time from his busy schedule to travel here and publicly address Broward’s problems spoke volumes as well.

So there you have it.  Maintaining professionalism, civility, and accountability is a constant struggle, and your suggestions and proposed solutions are the key, together with any instances of troubling behavior we can cite to that we may not already be aware of.  Drop us a line, or post a comment, for possible inclusion in the letter.

In the meantime, here is a recent article from Essence entitled A year After a Florida Judge Broke Her Mom’s Spirit, Teen Struggles to Put Her Life back Together, concerning the death of Sandra Faye Twiggs and her survivors’ fight for justice …

SERVICE DOG UPDATE

Tom Morse emailed earlier today to update on Myron Rosner’s situation with his service dog, Winter, and Dennis Bailey.

Apparently we missed the fact that Bailey last week had banned the dog from future hearings.  Today, however, Tom emailed the following to JAABLOG:

I just received a call from the JA to Judge Dennis Bailey withdrawing their order to ban Mr. Rosner’s service animal in his Courtroo(m)

That’s good news, and great work by Morse.  Now we’re only waiting on the transcript, which should become available shortly, and will be posted to paint the full picture of what went down.

NYT – Ordeal of Woman Who Gave Birth In Broward Jail Cell Prompts Internal Investigation

WEDNESDAY REVERSALS

KASTRENAKES – REVERSED AND REMANDED

MIRMAN – REMANDED

LUBITZ – REVERSED AND REMANDED W/ INSTRUCTIONS

BACKMAN – REVERSED IN PART

ROBY – REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR NEW TRIAL

BACKMAN – REVERSED IN PART/REMANDED

LEVENSON – REVERSED AND REMANDED

COHEN – REVERSED AND REMANDED

GREENE – WRIT GRANTED

SUSKAUER – REVERSED IN PART

D. BAILEY – REVERSED AND REMANDED

SCHOSBERG-FEUER – REVERSED AND REMANDED

JAABCAM

There’s nothing like a knockdown, drag-out, First Amendment brawl with Brenda’s Bar to reinvigorate the old blogging juices.  If you’ll just be a little more patient, the latest Brenda v. Blog story should break soon in the mainstream press.

In the meantime, take a look at former North Miami Beach mayor Myron Rosner and his service dog Winter.  Rosner, a paraplegic who requires Winter’s help to aid his sense of smell in addition to other service dog functions, was in court last week with his attorney, Tom Morse, and Dennis Bailey. The hearing was some sort of status hearing for Rosner’s upcoming trial, being heard in Broward after an executive assignment.  Apparently, Bailey lit into Rosner as to the necessity of having the dog in court, with witnesses telling us the judge was concerned Winter was along as a sympathy ploy.  It was an uncomfortable interaction according to those we spoke to, and all in advance of Dennis’ scheduled public reprimand before the Supreme Court at 9:00 a.m., Wedneday (sic), June 5, 2019 for the reasons spelled out in the also troubling Inquiry Concerning Judge Dennis Daniel Bailey.  In any event, we’re told the transcript will be made available any day now, so everyone will be able to judge for themselves who was in the right, or just plain wrong …

In other Bailey news, Tim Bailey made a headline or two at the end of April, although it’s not clear from the coverage or this memo by Miami Public Corruption ASA Kerrie Crockett as to whether or not it was really Tim that stopped the alleged victim from being able to travel south of the border to testify against the former cop accused of assaulting him.  The case was eventually forced to be dropped for lack of evidence.  For our part, we’ll be sure to ask Crockett exactly what happened, seeing as how we’ll be meeting with her shortly in her capacity as the assigned prosecutor charged with investigating Brenda’s veracity under oath associated with Brenda v. Blog and other issues.  It is indeed a small, small county, so drop us a line or call Kerrie’s office directly at 305-547-0668 if there’s anything you think she should know about Madam Clerk …

Is change a-comin’?  As mentioned back in March, Satz may be passing the baton shortly, reportedly to Sarahnell Murphy.  He’s made it known that an official announcement is coming in a week or two.  As to whether or not Murphy gets the nod, or whether he goes for another term, it’s still anyone’s guess, but there’s a strong buzz going ’round that Satz will support Murphy, and keep the Parkland case and stay busy in semi-retirement if she’s the winner.  Definitely a wait and see …

In other electoral news, Brian Silber told us today he’s not running for SAO, a decision in line with his non-committal remarks from back in September, while Jonathon Marne is reportedly strongly considering joining the fray for Clerk of Courts …

Disrespectful! – there was a recent robing that was full of a new judge’s friends, family, and supporters, while hardly a third of the sitting judges bothered to show up.  That’s right, there were four empty rows of reserved judicial seating, while we counted maybe thirty sitting judges in attendance.  There were a handful of judges at work in the felony wing while the festivities were ongoing, but time didn’t allow for the new tower to be checked.  Was it a purposeful snub of Jack Tuter at work, in accordance with the whispers of the morale problem we’ve recently been hearing about, or is it simply ceremony burnout after so many damn robings over the last few months?  Whatever it is, it’s certainly bad planning, and Broward deserves better …

That’s Brenda turning the tables on JAABCAM, at the previously mentioned robing.  She’s got some great video that we’d love to see, which has most likely already been forward to her teammates at the Bar.  In it we’re holding the Broward Bar Association Barrister magazine pictured below, ironically distributed at the sign-in table just out of frame to the right of Dian Diaz, asking Brenda if she’d seen the topic of the cover story …

In all seriousness, it’s important to note Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society has recently been the topic du jour in Broward, despite the bizarre curveball Brenda’s Bar has recently thrown, which we again promise should break soon …

It’s nice to know even BSO is getting in on the act, as evidenced by this flyer from Indian River County being passed out to courthouse staff recently;

Blog Star! – you can count on one or two hands the judges with enduring JAABLOG careers, and old friend Marni Bryson is definitely one of them.  Suffice it to say, our instinct for talent remains intact, if anything about the most recent, well publicized controversy is true.  We won’t bother to rehash the allegations here, but will say we did get a gander at one of the alleged photos years back, around the time Bryson was facing reelection.  It was cropped from the neck down, however, which is why we never bothered to blog it.  In any event, we’re told the rumored photos may become exhibits in public filings at some point, and then surely national news, so stay tuned

That’s Mike Glasser, in his former nationally televised poker playing days.  Recently he’s been battling Barbara McCarthy, to the point he felt compelled to send Jack Tuter an email today over a plea deal gone bad.

From the email:

“Our firm represents Abdul Leiba, who has 2 pending VOPs and a new law violation in Judge McCarthy’s division. Mr. Leiba is in custody.

On 4/30/19, the judge accepted a resolution on all 3 matters, orally pronounced sentence, and a disposition was completed by the clerk further confirming the sentence. Not that I need to educate you on such a basic premise, but the sentence obviously had thus begun at the imposition of the sentence via oral pronouncement. Case after case has reiterated that Florida law provides for finality once a sentence is pronounced and the defendant begins serving the sentence. The sheriff’s website even reflected Mr. Leiba’s release date as 5/2 on all matters.

Nevertheless, Judge McCarthy inexplicably, SUA SPONTE, vacated the pleas and sentence on 5/1, the following day, and stated she would only accept these pleas if there were adjudications on all counts, as opposed to any withhold.

On May 2, I was covering for my partner, Eric Rudenberg, and Judge McCarthy again explained that she wouldn’t accept the pleas unless there were adjudications on all counts. She then reset the hearing for May 14 …

Needless to say, the client and family are beyond distraught that he is still sitting in custody … “

Mike goes on to express his frustration at trying to get an earlier hearing date to try and resolve the situation, a not uncommon complaint from those dealing with McCarthy’s division.  After the email was received, Glasser texted that Tuter “truly took this seriously and he deserves credit for it,” while saying he believes a hearing will be set for Thursday to clear the air …

COMING SOONThe Incredible Disappearing Gulkin Award Nominee; Playing Six Degrees of Separation with Grievance Committee 17 (c); Marsy’s Law, Expensive Kidney Dialysis treatments, and Satz’s SAO