CHECK YOUR SPAM! – If you want to vote for BOG or TFB President electronically, be sure to check your Inbox, or more likely the Spam folder, to retrieve the following email. Deadline to consent to an Eballot is this Friday, January 31, 2020, by 5:00 P.M., so please follow the instructions in the email if interested …

The Florida Bar Election eBallot Option – Select Now
Election Services Co. for The Florida Bar
Jan 27, 2020, 12:28 PM

Dear Florida Bar Member:

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to receive your Florida Bar confidential election ballot by email. By consenting to this option, you will not receive a paper ballot. Just click on the link below to consent to letting us email you the voting instructions. We need to hear from you by 5:00 PM (EST) on January 31, 2020.

Members are encouraged to receive their voting material by email. By accepting this electronic option, you will be expediting the election process. Voting instructions will be sent via email on February 28, 2020. If we do not receive your online consent, a paper ballot will be mailed to you on February 28, 2020.

Eballot consent link: (check your specific email for your specific link)

If you click on the link and it does not automatically open your web browser, please open your Internet browser and then copy and paste the URL into the “Address” field.

Thank you for participating.

Please add our address: flabarhelp@mg.electionservicescorp.com to your email contacts/whitelist in order to ensure that your voting information arrives in your Inbox.

Speaking of TFB officers – pictured above is the oath sworn by former president Michelle Suskauer, currently under investigation by TFB. Rumor has it she’s likely to emerge relatively unscathed, after her less than credible former client who sparked the complaint was convicted of fraud. Still, is it fair to wonder, given the portion of the sworn oath regarding Bar rules, why Suskauer would have struggled answering Jimmy Cohn’s questions regarding the rules seen in the transcript excerpt below, if she had read them thoroughly before swearing in as president? You make the call!

Jay Spechler in the news … again – as reflected in the comments section this morning, the always ready to rumble Jay is in a dispute with a neighbor over dock size. This follows the JAABLOG contretemps from 2018, which is once again newsworthy as Team Spechler is optimistic the BOG and Supreme Court will agree with their proposed consent judgement that has already been blessed by Bar Counsel. The proposed settlement is found here …

And for any of you looking to get into Bar defense work, here’s the applicable rule:

(a) Before Formal Complaint is Filed. If before a formal complaint is filed a respondent states a desire to plead guilty, bar counsel shall consult established board guidelines for discipline and confer with the designated reviewer. If bar counsel or the designated reviewer
rejects the proposed consent judgment, the matter shall not be referred to the board of governors. If bar counsel and the designated reviewer approve the proposed consent judgment, the
respondent shall be advised that bar counsel and the designated reviewer will recommend approval of the respondent’s written plea, and the matter shall be placed on the agenda of the board of governors for its review. If the board of governors concurs in the consent judgment, bar counsel shall notify the respondent and file all necessary pleadings to secure approval of the plea. If a proposed consent judgment is rejected, bar counsel shall prepare and file a complaint as provided elsewhere in these rules.

Warning! More law! – yes, you can plead no contest to a VOP Warrant with new law allegations, instead of entering an admission. It’s discretionary to the Court whether to accept the no contest plea, of course, but it’s legal. Next time you have a sympathetic but concerned judge, cite these cases:

Jefferson v. State, 830 So.2d 195, 4th DCA (2002); Horn v. State, 57 So.3d 984, 5th DCA (2011); Stewart v. State, 586 S0.2d 449, 1st DCA (1991).

Also, below is a handy-dandy sentencing flow chart prepared by Mike Usan that’s in use in the 17th, and across the state. It sure would be easier if they just gave out bench books to all lawyers upon admission to the Bar, right?

And while we’re being helpful, check out this Agreed Reset Form in use in Palm Beach, from Lenny Hanser’s assigned division:

Just get the ASA onboard, fill it out, choose a date from an approved list that the in-court clerk maintains, and quickly reset your court date, whether or not the judge is on the bench. Something every Broward judge suffering from dockets clogged with Satz penny-ante prosecutions should consider utilizing in the name of efficiency and courtesy to all litigants, and to preserve precious court time for substantive matters …

Also from Palm Beach, a Motion For Sanctions!Bill Scherer wants sanctions against Marni Bryson. See Defendant’s Motion For Sanctions Under S 57.105 And For Bad Faith

Investigation? – following the dreaded “JAABLOG REQUEST” made to the SAO on January 16th regarding the incredible disappearing/reappearing nolle prossed 1st degree felonies, we’re told Mike Satz and some of his upper level team scurried over to the BSO Public Corruption Unit, in the Public Safety Building off Broward, roughly the day after the MLK holiday. Accordingly, to confirm or debunk the rumor, the following was sent to the SAO’s PIO on January 28th:

(I)t’s my understanding Mr. Satz and others from the SAO have met with BSO’s Public Corruption Unit concerning the issues recently detailed in your last response. Is this true, and when and how many times have they met if true?

Here’s the response, from the same day:

The Broward State Attorney’s Office has no comment.

Developing? …

Gold Watch Time!Brian Reidy, seen above striking a pose made by all the uber trial warriors from the Al Schreiber era at one time or another, is out of here. Come toast his success this Friday, January 31st, 5:00 P.M., at Tap 42. Well done!


Switcheroo! – the rumors regarding Andrea Gundersen being pushed out of Family are true, and for all those fretting about her coming to Criminal, rest easy. She’s going to Dennis Bailey’s current Foreclosure Division #11, and Bailey is taking Gundersen’s Family Division #41. As far as Raag Singhal’s coveted former Civil Division #21, it’s being babysat by Mark Speiser until the JNC fills the vacancy created by Singhal’s call-up to The Show, with Raag’s replacement now likely coming to Criminal to take over for whomever wins the behind the scenes wrestling match to win admission to 21 Club. Today’s AO is found here with the three changes …

Save the date!Gina Hawkins JQC trial is coming up, set for February 13th in the central courthouse. There’s been lots of back and forth on the docketing of this case, with former ASA Greg Lauer now a listed witness in support of what he categorizes as his former trial partner’s “playful actions.” All docs are found here

Busted! – Clerk’s employee Sheena White got indicted by the Feds, suspended without pay since January 3rd of this year. The Indictment is found here. It’s unknown at this time if the allegations have any type of connection to White’s employment responsibilities.

Jason Maraj, one of Brenda’s higher-ups at the Clerk’s Office, recently beat a felony gun rap, ably repp’d by courthouse go-to-guy Jeremy Kroll. The PC Affidavit is here, No Info’d by the SAO’s Alex Urruela back on December 13th. Kroll also represents former ASA Alim Babayev on pending DUI allegations before Bobby Diaz, with Zeb Goldstein defending Babayev against a civil auto negligence complaint stemming from the same alleged DUI incident …

BOG Platform Statements – there are three races for BOG this year, and the platform statements are found here. Interestingly, Michael Shelley, running in the 11th Circuit, shares similar concerns with “(t)ransparency and consistency in discipline cases,” writing “the Bar seems to be focused on constitutionally protected free speech rather than actual misconduct that harms the client and the public at large.” Check out all the statements, including Jay Kim’s, and be sure to read this Q&A with TFB president-elect hopeful Michael Tanner, regarding legal challenges to mandatory bar associations, as previously highlighted via WSJ link on JAABLOG here

Served!JAABLOG is ensnared in Bryson v. Scherer, due to this post from May of last year. Marni’s attorneys are looking to invade the journalist’s privilege, but not if Pro Bono Warrior John Howes has anything to say about it. Check out this objection John filed back in December, and we’ll be sure to update after this Friday’s scheduled depo …

Whose mother do I have to hire around here to get a nolle prosse? – that’s the bad joke going around the courthouse these days, after the SAO dropped some serious 1st degree felonies, and then refiled them. The cases had been in ASA Jeff Chukwuma’s name, while the defense attorney was his mom, Laura Chukwuma. Needless to say, Jeff wasn’t the ASA that dropped the cases, but the incidents have been the talk of the SAO, where morale is even lower than the usually normal all-time-low, due to the perceived closeness of Laura to Mike Satz.

We saw Jeff Marcus and Satz last week and asked if they knew anything about the matter, since it was our understanding that police officers involved in some of the cases may have been the first to make the stink that led to the refiles. Marcus and Satz were predictably uncommunicative, so we went to the SAO’s PIO later that day, who replied last Friday:

Here is the Broward State Attorney’s Office response to your questions:

As you know, cases are automatically assigned by the degree of felony and the seniority level of the prosecutors in each courtroom/division.

Assistant State Attorney Jeffrey Chukwuma was removing himself from cases where his mother was the attorney of record, as required. We recently discovered that while he was removing himself from those cases and giving them to other prosecutors to handle, his name was remaining on the case as the assigned prosecutor.

This was corrected after it was discovered and Mr. Chukwuma was counseled to officially have the cases reassigned to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Among those cases were one case involving two co-defendants and a separate case involving one defendant. Those cases were randomly assigned to Judge Siegel’s division, where the defense attorney’s son is the lead prosecutor.

Because of the conflict of interest, another lead prosecutor from a different courtroom/division was asked to handle the above cases. That prosecutor was absent from court because of a missed flight and yet another prosecutor was asked to step in (at short notice) and handle the court hearings.

After speaking briefly with the defense attorney, the prosecutor was under the impression that charges were to be dismissed against all three defendants and that one of the three defendants had agreed to plead to one charge in exchange for time served.

Upon review, supervising prosecutors disagreed with the dropping (or nolle pros) of the charges against the three defendants and those charges were re-filed. Supervisors also disagreed with the disposition of the charge that had been pleaded out but it was not possible to re-file that charge.

Our prosecutors are continuing to review the matter.

The cases involved were:

17-8678CF10A and 19-2084CF10A Wiky Jean

18-13535CF10A Berlin Millicent

19-2138CF10A Tiffany French

All but 17-8678CF10A have been re-filed.

We’ll be sure to update after the SAO finishes its review …



Happy New Year to all.

During the break, The Florida Bar News announced only three contested Board of Governors (BOG) races statewide this year, to be held in March.  One is in Miami, and two are in Broward. 

In the 17th, Christina McKinnon is taking on Hilary Creary, and I am up against Jay Kim, of Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP.  Click the link above for specifics on election procedures.

Candidate platform statements were due yesterday, for publication later in the month online and in print.  My statement is below.  

Additionally, I have challenged Jay to a debate concerning qualifications and the critical issues facing The Florida Bar (TFB) today, and personally assured him of equal time for anything professionally written he may wish to post here on JAABLOG.  However, as noted in the platform statement, Jay doesn’t return my emails.  I had also emailed his partner, Robert Vaughn, in his capacity as incoming president of the Broward County Bar Association (BCBA), to see if he could help arrange a debate in the event Jay rises to the challenge.  Robert promptly replied that he would forward my request to his colleagues on the BCBA Executive Committee for consideration and discussion, so let’s hope Jay doesn’t run from this important dialogue.

In the meantime, please take the time to read my statement, and do contact me with any questions, concerns, or insights to help me win.  I know there are an awful lot of people out there who also feel TFB needs a change of course, and together we can make a difference.

Bill Gelin


My name is Bill Gelin, and I am running against Jay Kim for BOG in Broward. I graduated UC Berkeley, and Stanford Law School.

I am known as an aggressive criminal defense attorney after daily courtroom appearances over eighteen-plus years, and for my role as principal author of the courthouse blog, JAABLOG.

My work on “the blog” has led to a large body of local, national, and international news stories over fourteen years, and helped to root-out corruption. However, I am most proud of starting the public dialogue in Broward for criminal justice reform and diversity on the bench more than a decade before they became fashionable topics. For my service, I was named Broward-Palm Beach “Best Lawyer” and “Best Gadfly,” and JAABLOG “Best Blog” by local media. Despite helping to usher in needed reforms, TFB has never been a fan, and has pursued numerous unfounded, anti-free speech/reform-chilling complaints, for which probable cause has never been found.

Why run?

Because I believe in offering and working towards solutions, instead of simply pointing out flaws.

This is a critical time for TFB. Former president Michelle Suskauer is under investigation for serious ethics allegations discovered by a federal judge, and a Miami judge recently wrote a report that reads like an indictment of TFB’s disciplinary arm. Taken together with ongoing repressive Bar actions against critical free speech, I believe an independent audit of Bar practices is necessary to ensure the public is properly protected and reassured.

Enhancement of a disciplinary process viewed as inefficient, anti-due process, and sometimes politically manipulated both offensively and defensively, is not the only area of concern. Professionalism and civility must be addressed, namely combatting institutional racism via TFB’s educational and legislative advocacy functions. There is nothing more unprofessional and uncivilized than disparate systemic impacts upon minorities, and TFB should be exercising more leadership. If elected, lip service to ideals of behavior will not be espoused, but rather inconvenient truths stated and countered.

Why run against Jay Kim?

I don’t think he’s accomplished much on the BOG, and besides not adequately addressing the issues above, he voted to terminate a judicial professionalism feedback program, instead of working to fix it.

I also disagree with his mentoring position, stating for YLD consumption “your client is generally not worth a bad personal relationship with your opposing counsel.” The public distrusts the legal profession because it’s perceived as self-serving; I will work to educate everyone that clients are always paramount.

Lastly, I emailed Jay before and after announcing, with no response. Professionalism requires more, and I will faithfully communicate with all.

As a busy sole practitioner, I am sensitive to the needs of running a business. I will be there for lawyers interested in solving personal issues, as well as addressing “macro” problems. Transparency is key, and in the changing technological legal landscape of which we all are part, I will seek your input to help shape the future practice of law to both benefit hard-working attorneys and protect the public.

(Disclaimer/Unsolicited Mass Communications – anyone subscribed to JAABLOG not wishing to receive blogs regarding Bill Gelin’s candidacy for BOG Seat 17/1 of the Florida Bar should immediately UNSUBSCRIBE to JAABLOG)


Bill Gelin for BOG! (August ’19)

An Introduction (April ’19)