All posts by Jaaber

“It’s absolute nonsense!”

In response to phone calls received and a blog comment by Judge Hawkins did what? at 5:06 PM today alleging a physical altercation involving the judge and a courthouse employee, we reached out to Gina Hawkins on her cell a few minutes ago.

Here’s what she said:

“It’s absolute nonsense.  I have not had an altercation with anyone ever.”

Thank you Gina, for setting the record straight!

YOU MAKE THE CALL!

BLAME GAME!Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Rafael Olmeda has the following:

An accused killer was mistakenly freed from jail after the Broward Clerk of Courts did not produce a routine document telling the jail to keep him there …

Prosecutors dropped a second-degree murder charge against (Eric) Vail in (a) shooting after a grand jury indicted him for first-degree murder for the same crime. He was supposed to be held without bond on the more serious charge, but the clerk’s office never sent that paperwork to the jail.

After the change to Vail’s criminal charges, the clerk’s office never generated a “capias” — or an order to arrest or detain the 28-year-old defendant.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, may have compounded the problem: It wasn’t required to check the clerk’s website to see whether Vail had other cases against him. Sheriff’s officials say checking the clerk’s website is not part of their routine procedures because it’s unreliable “and not an official warrant database.” The jail searches for a capias, a warrant, or a court order, not the clerk’s website …

Even without the capias, whether the Sheriff’s Office should have known to hold Vail remains in dispute. The April indictment contains an explicit court order to hold Vail without bond. Coleman-Wright said it was the clerk’s responsibility to notify the jail about that order with the capias.

But both the clerk’s office and the Broward State Attorney’s Office say they let the Sheriff’s Office know about the first-degree murder case. That information never got to the jail. Once the second-degree case was dropped, jail officials searched for warrants, a capias or some other court order with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement …

“If their query does not have them check their local database to see if the defendant has another case then the query is stupid,” (Howard Finkelstein) said. “The sheriff’s office and the clerk’s office need to stop focusing on blaming each other and start taking measures to make sure this never happens again.”

(Read the full story here)

So, who is to blame? 

Brenda Forman or Greg Tony?

YOU MAKE THE CALL!

YouTube: There’s a killer on the road …

BrowardBeat – The Next Election: Good Ol’ Boys Last Stand

 … Once in office it quickly became apparently that Ms. Forman was over her head. She was drowning in documents that her office regularly misplaced, we hear.

Now after bungling her job, Ms. Forman is under investigation for lying under oath and other wrongdoing …

FRIDAY NOTES

SAO updateTeresa Williams has confirmed she is running again for State Attorney.

-Jim Lewis has filed:

Gina Faulk has responded:

Sarahnell Murphy has not yet responded to a text and email sent earlier today asking if she’s also running …

Termed out – the Bar confirmed that IP Address subpoena signer Sean Collin has concluded his term as a member of the JAABLOG focused GC …

WEDNESDAY NOTES

SAO update – Mickey Rocque, who has wanted to run for State Attorney for years but never did out of respect for Mike Satz, reports he is excited to run and serve the people of Broward County.

Paul Backman is not, as rumored, running for SAO, and is expected to officially file for Clerk of Courts soon.

Regina Faulk is rumored to be considering a run for her outgoing boss’s job.  This could be more than a rumor, however, as multiple texts and an email asking her to confirm or deny have not been returned as of posting …

Anyone else?  Stay tuned …

Six Degrees of 17C! – speaking of Faulk, she’s on the Grievance Committee that signed off on the subpoena asking for protected JAABLOG IP Addresses.  Today’s news of her potential future ambitions are coincidentally her second newsworthy appearance on the blog as of late, as she was also a witness on Brenda v. Coleman:

Since it’s a small Browardtown after all, it’s not surprising there’s another member of the GC whose firm, Cole, Scott & Kissane, was JAABLOG-worthy years back, during Gardinergate:

(From ANSWER BRIEF OF RESPONDENT, by Dave Bogenschutz and Jack Goldberger)

Lastly, the lawyer whose signature appears on the subpoena on behalf of the GC, Sean Collin, is no longer showing up as a listed member of 17C. We’ll be following up with the Bar tomorrow to see if he was termed out, or something else.

In any event, Collin’s firm, Lyons, Snyder, Collin, has been a financial contributor to Bobby Diaz’s reelection bids over the years, and we learned through a PRR that NSU grad Collin had once been assigned to Diaz’s division as a newbie ASA.  Diaz’s wife Dian Diaz is, of course, a witness on Brenda v. Blog.  And JAABLOG’s relationship with the judge named Diaz certainly doesn’t require much expounding around here …

There’s more, but for now …Thanks for playing 6 degrees of 17C!

Attention current and former Broward ASA’s – The original, legendary, Miami’s Rumpole, has thrown down the gauntlet.  He’s promised to publish all your comments disproving his opinion of Satz.  Here’s the link to support your leader!

Thank you TFB – the Bar has confirmed they will not be covering anything to do with Michelle Suskauer at this point in time, just as they previously indicated they won’t be informing the membership about their quest for JAABLOG’s IP Addresses.

That’s right, because “The Daily News Summary doesn’t include clips about pending litigation or pending disciplinary cases … (and) … The Florida Bar News also only reports on Bar cases that conclude with court-ordered discipline“, it will be up to blogs like JAABLOG that are read statewide by judges and lawyers alike to spread the news of what’s going on at the highest levels of a major government agency.

Interesting, isn’t it?  JAABLOG’s arguments concerning the need and importance of an unfettered and protected Fourth Estate have now been bolstered by the Bar’s very own policies concerning news blackouts when they’re sometimes the ones in an unflattering spotlight.

Here’s what Howard Finkelstein had to say on the topic earlier this week:

In my over forty years in this courthouse, I can say without the blog, so many secrets would stay a secret forever.  It is only because of the blog that some of the dirty deeds and corruption of our criminal justice system and legal profession have seen the light of day, and reached the public’s ears.  If they will not keep their own house clean, then the blog is more important today than ever before.”

And if you don’t believe him, read what the great Sandy D’Alemberte had to say about Brenda v. Blog, shortly before his passing ...

COMING SOON$750 Grand Theft cutoff applied retroactively, please; Catching up with Pro Bono Warrior John Howes

TUESDAY NOTES

Dennis Bailey’s public reprimand at the hands of the Supreme Court is scheduled for Wednesday morning, June 5th, at 9:00 A.M.

Watch it live here, or wait for it to archive here.

Suskauer comes out swinging Zach Schlein of the DBR gets a statement from Michelle:

The DBR also posted the transcript of the federal court hearing that has her under investigation by the Bar:

COMING SOON – Jack Seiler & Mark Bogen to SAO race?; TFB Standard Bearers Brenda & Michelle, and you …

THAT WAS FAST …

UPDATE IIIJim Lewis out of PDO race, and in for SAO …

UPDATE IIHarold Pryor is another rumored SAO hopeful …

UPDATE – Add Ken Padowitz.  He’s “seriously considering” a run as well …

With all the major offices in the criminal justice system up for grabs in 2020, things are really getting interesting.  With Satz’s anticipated announcement now official, the JAAB phone is already blowing up with rumors.

Here’s what we can confirm thus far:

Sheila Alu:

It’s true.  I’m sad to see Mike Satz retire, and I wish him well, and I am now seriously considering running for State Attorney. ”

Josh Rydell:

I’m definitely interested, this is a position to truly change and effect the county for the better.”

Developing …

MORE FROM THE FLORIDA BAR ZONE

Michelle Suskauer didn’t answer any of our questions, but she’ll sure be answering serious ones brought to the Bar’s attention by Jimmy Cohn.

From today’s Palm Beach Post article by Jane Musgrave:

The Florida Bar is investigating its president, longtime West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Michelle Suskauer, after a federal judge alerted the agency that she may have let a disbarred lawyer represent one of her clients …

“Certainly his role was more than that of a paralegal,” (Judge) Cohn said after looking at dozens of emails (that disbarred lawyer John) Garcia exchanged with accused fraudster Anthony D’Amico. “And he had direct client contact, which is prohibited by the Florida Bar. And it is a serious allegation.”

“Quite honestly,” Cohn continued, “the Florida Bar needs to take a look at this, and I plan to refer it to the Florida Bar.” …

While (Suskauer) didn’t attend a hearing in February when D’Amico pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud for allegedly directing more than $1.5 million of a former employer’s money into his own accounts, she said she sent an associate. She said she didn’t know why Garcia sat at the defense table.

D’Amico said it was all part of the ruse to make him believe Garcia was a lawyer. The only reason he hired Garcia was because Suskauer urged him to do so, D’Amico told Cohn. She described Garcia as a “federal court specialist,” he said. So, he agreed to pay Garcia $10,000 on top of the “significant amount” he paid Suskauer, he said …

“We used him as an expert so that our clients, if they’re sentenced as such, will be able to be better acclimated to the procedure,” (Suskauer) said. Aside from offering prison counseling, he worked only as a paralegal, she said.

But, Cohn said, Garcia — with Suskauer’s help — may have stepped over some important lines. He asked Suskauer about various Bar rules that attorneys must follow when dealing with disbarred lawyers. For instance, lawyers much file quarterly reports that include statements that none of a disbarred attorney’s work involved the unlicensed practice of law and that the former lawyer had no direct contact with clients, according to the Bar’s website.

Suskauer said she wasn’t familiar with the rules but was convinced that neither she nor Garcia violated them.

“Well, perhaps you should acquaint yourself with Florida Bar Rule of Professional Conduct 3-6.1(d)(2),” Cohn said. “I think you may come away with a different opinion.” …