All posts by Jaaber


So you want to be a judge? – here are some of the people rumored to be running for judge next time around: Betsy Benson (for Linda Pratt’s seat), Lea Krauss, Deborah Carpenter-Toye, Brad Collins, and Jahra McLawrence.  Keep an eye on the JNC applicant pool for Gary Cowart’s seat too; some of the above may be applying just in case Charlie Crist emerges victorious, while others familiar to those who follow the appointment process may finally be fed up enough to take their case to the voters after multiple failed attempts to get a fat pension the easy way.  The application deadline is November 10th.

No surprise …  Iris Siple, Chief Administrator for the Clerk of Courts, is running for Clerk, and Howard Forman will be publicly supporting her.  Good luck!

Thank you, BACDL – word on the street has BACDL preparing a strongly worded letter to Pete Weinstein, opposing Lynn Rosenthal’s return to the criminal division.  We’ll publish the letter when it becomes available …

Is the wheel broken? – please drop a line if you’ve got any concerns regarding the various court appointment registries.  Rumor has it judges are once again going off the wheel, and have been for a very long time.  No one around here takes court appointments, so it’s hard for us to tell, and your help is needed.  If you feel others are getting more than their fair share, let us know.  The Clerk, official keeper of the wheel, has provided a list of every criminal/juvenile division court appointment over the last four years that they know about, which we’ve begun comparing to JAC payouts out of Tallahassee.  So far there are major discrepancies, but we need to broaden the comparisons and double-check our methodology before calling for Bob Norman.  Any guidance will be greatly appreciated …

Easy Eissey Mark Eissey granted yet another continuance last week to Cindy Imperato, whose PB DUI was continued to December 5th, which is three days and a year from her arraignment date.  Will this one have any bearing on Broward’s February chief judge election?  Wait and see …

Speaking of North of the Border – PB chief judge Jeff Colbath is all over the news wearing a robe, after wrapping up John Goodman’s second DUI manslaughter trial today.  By contrast , Broward’s Pete Weinsten is in the paper wearing a tuxedo, his seemingly favorite form of dress, having a grand old-time schmoozing with the political set at last weekend’s Broward Mayor’s Gala.  Nice work if you can get it …

Lastly, thoughts and prayers Eddie Kay is in hospice, but everyone knows a heavyweight champion of Eddie’s caliber can never be counted out.  Sadly following on the heels of June Johnson’s passing in late September, days before her sister Joan also expired, a long time Clerk’s employee.  Where does the time go?

Coming Soon – RRA SOL DOA; CJ election Update; Weinstein’s Top Secret Traffic Magistrates; Judicial reassignment mania!

Bob Norman WPLG – Finkelstein v. Hurley

Miami Herald – Finkelstein v. Hurley

The Atlantic – Technical Constraints That Made Abbey Road So Good


A reliable source has confirmed Jay Hurley isn’t going anywhere.  Kal Evans may be subbing in the afternoon on occasion, but there won’t be any swapping of divisions.

Additionally, we’re told Hurley couldn’t stop laughing when he first read Finkelstein’s letter.

Is this the end of this one?  Unlikely.

Developing …


Cancelled! – Hollywood Jay Hurley will have to get used to life outside the spotlight.  Rumor has it he’s swapping divisions with Kal Evans, after criticism concerning his handling of an Ebola faking inmate, and after a lengthy and escalating battle with Howard Finkelstein over what the Public Defender deems Hurley’s “continued refusal to appoint counsel to homeless persons arrested for violating municipal ordinances“.  It’s all documented from Howard’s point of view in this letter to Pete Weinstein today, complete with DVD’s from First Appearances.  It’s a shame things have gotten this far, since Jay has done a lot of good as Broward’s inaugural full-time magistrate judge, after Vic Tobin created the position.  Hopefully they’ll patch things up, since Hurley will still be in criminal, while Evans will be the one deciding how busy he’ll be keeping defense lawyers contracted with municipalities to provide legal services in cases which fall outside the elected Public Defender’s purview.  All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up …

Speaking of legal loopholes – can BSO misdemeanor probation officers determine if a Defendant needs to report, after a judge has unambiguously ordered reporting probation?  Ginger Lerner-Wren certainly thinks she knows the answer, as evidenced by this letter to Weinstein on October 20th.  Apparently, Lerner-Wren and other judges weren’t kept in the loop when BSO adopted the burgeoning practice of “dosage probation“, which basically allows probation officers to convert reporting probation to non-reporting administrative supervision without clearing it with Weinstein or the sentencing judges.  Read the blow by blow in Ginger’s letter, and all about dosage probation here.

But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Ev’rybody’s gonna wanna dose …

Supa scratch – those hoping to catch a glimpse of Richie Supa, co-author of Aerosmith’s Chip Away the Stone, Lightning Strikes, and Amazing, at Gisele Pollack’s JQC mitigation-fest on November 13th, will be disappointed to learn he’s been scratched from the witness list due to a scheduling conflict.  Let’s hope it’s not another Steven Tyler relapse.  In any event, gawkers can still enjoy baseball great Darryl Strawberry’s presentation, in an event that promises to make the 17th Circuit’s all-time weird list.  And that’s saying an awful lot …

Pass the tincture, Counselor – can a judge or prosecutor use dope in states like Colorado, where it’s legal?  Of course not.  Law enforcers can’t break federal laws.  But can other licensed Florida attorneys?  That was the question posed to the Florida Bar a few weeks ago, and their answer may surprise you.

From TFB:

The Florida Bar does not currently have a position on Florida lawyers using marijuana in states where it’s legal.

Rules 3-4.4 and 4-8.4b address misconduct and could be applied depending on the circumstances of a case …

Sounds like a green light, suggesting TFB decision-making may be affected by virtue of their headquarters being downwind from the dorms at FSU …

LA Times: What California can learn from red states on prison

Prisons are for people we are afraid of, but we have been filling them with many folks we are just mad at … It makes no sense to send nonserious, nonviolent offenders to a place filled with hardened criminals and a poor record of rehabilitation — and still expect them to come out better than they went in. Studies show that placing low-risk offenders in prison makes them more dangerous when they are released …

Dead to get the Scorsese treatment too

Zeppelin loses first court battle in “Stairway to Heaven” lawsuit


horowitz.png Can Horowitz restore order?

Pete Weinstein’s father may have walked with Martin Luther King, but we’re hard pressed to draw any other comparisons between Broward’s beleaguered chief judge and a leader of King’s stature.  After four years of Weinstein at the helm, the 17th Circuit is once again a national laughing-stock, where appeasement and duck and cover rule the day.  Still, Weinstein has made it clear he’s seeking a third term as chief judge, without publicly indicating a vision for the next two years, or presenting a compelling case as to why he deserves reelection.

Hopefully that’s all about to change.

After months of rumors, Fred Horowitz seems close to making it official.  Backed by a burgeoning group of unhappy judges, Horowitz reportedly broke the news to Weinstein recently, which means he may be going public shortly.  Let’s hope so.  With Pollack, Rosenthal, and Imperato poised to make headlines in the coming months, an open dialogue surrounding the February chief judge election is exactly what’s needed to restore and maintain the public’s confidence in its judiciary.  Horowitz would be doing everyone a favor, so offer your support to him and any other civic-minded judges you know of who may be mulling a run …

Coming SoonIs the conflict attorney wheel broken?; Judicial reassignment as a political tool; Was there a two term pledge?



The following email went out this morning at 9:02 AM, signed by Alexandra Rieman, court administration’s lawyer.

Attached is an electronic copy of AO 2014-33-Gen assigning Judge Evans to Division MW as of September 2, 2014, Judge Kanner to Division 55 on September 24, 2014, and Judge Zeller to Division ZD on September 24, 2014.

Hardly news, since everyone knew Zeller was taking over misdemeanor drug court, and the other two changes.  What is interesting is the assignment of Lynn Rosenthal to Criminal Division FE, seen in the body of the AO. 

But hold on.

It’s a mistake, as Peter Weinstein’s JA just told us.  Rosenthal has NOT been reassigned to Criminal as of yet, and the AO is being fixed. 

We’ll let you know when it’s updated …



Rosenthal v. McLawrence – it’s an easy win for Lynn Rosenthal, which everyone but the dreamers expected.  But as Jahra McLawrence points out, leadership involves much more than winning an election.

From McLawrence’s Facebook page:

I hope that more attorneys will stand up and challenge the status quo.  The unsuspecting community is depending on you to protect them from an unfair and unreasonable legal system.”

Truer words have never been said.

As far as Rosenthal is concerned, she’s not out of the woods just yet.  Her victory simply poses more questions.

For instance:

1.)  Will she face JQC prosecution for refusing drug testing following her DUI arrest, and for making public statements during the campaign which seem to contradict the BAT video?

2.) Will Peter Weinstein allow Rosenthal and other DUI refusnik judges to return to the Criminal Division, and will Mike Satz, Howard Finkelstein, and BACDL put up a fight?

3.)  Will the life-lessons inherent to any arrest, universal bad press, and the rigors of being challenged at the polls humble Rosenthal, thereby transforming her into a less controversial judge?  Or will the entire experience harden her already rigid outlook on the world of criminal justice?  Similarly, what effect, if any, will the embarrassment of having run a haphazard campaign and being psyched out of more than $160,000 in personal funds have on her judicial world view?

Definitely a lot more coming on this one …

Meet Judge Al Milian – good news out of Miami, as Al easily won a spot on the circuit bench.  Many remember him as a relentless Broward prosecutor, but he’s spent a lot longer since then defending with equal passion and zeal.  On a personal note, we couldn’t be happier.  When asked, Al would gladly co-counsel gratis on cases south of the border when deserving individuals with bright futures were facing incredible odds.  His local gravitas always got the job done, with one young man he helped us with now a successful engineer with the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit.  Al’s simply a great guy, and will make a great judge.  Well done!

In Palm Beach Jessica Ticktin has cleaned incumbent Diana Lewis’ clock.  Ticktin benefitted from the massive name recognition of her Dad Peter Ticktin’s heavily advertised eponymous law firm, not to mention Lewis’ reputation for being a little nasty demeanor-wise …

In St. Lucie – incumbent Phil Yacucci is still a judge, despite the now dormant website  This one got extremely heated, to the point police got involved following a confrontation between challenger and incumbent at the polls.  Watch the linked video to see how far this grudge match has gone …

In November – primary winner Rhoda Sokoloff will face off against Dennis Bailey.  Sokoloff, like judge Mardi Levey Cohen, may prove that repeated runs and sheer determination often pay off.  Wait and see.

Congratulations, Stacey! Stacey Schulman is now a circuit judge, fulfilling a life long dream.  She was a fair prosecutor, and is a family friend of the ever-reasonable Susan Lebow, so all indications point to a distinguished career on the bench.  On a personal note, judge Schulman sat on the bar grievance committee which disposed of the nonsensical, anti-American, anonymous bar complaints against your humble author, which took courage.  Congratulations are also due to Julie Shapiro Harris, who may now be considering a run to replace her current employer at the Clerk’s Office, Howard FormanThe third time may be the charm

Good for Broward Ian Richards easily won the primary.  He’ll face off against Claudia Robinson in November, with Jonathan Kasen eliminated after a severe trouncing.  We like Claudia, but never thought Ian deserved any of this, particularly since he’s a hard worker, and one of the few Blacks on the bench.  In any event, Broward voters get the credit, because a qualified minority candidate received the support he deserves …

Giant Killer John Contini replaces Katie McHugh in the role of David.  McHugh faced down damaged political powerhouse Ilene Lieberman to win her seat on the bench, and tonight Contini knocked out incumbent Steve Feren, whose long political career in Broward County has ended in similarly undistinguished style.  Broward voters once again get the credit, for seeing behind the curtain.  Feren didn’t make many friends during his brief tenure at the courthouse, but he did provide some amusing moments during the campaign, which we’ll be sure to highlight as Chief Judge election season nears …


Coming SoonGisele Pollack v. JQC trial?; Conflict? What conflict?


Campaign Finance Jahra McLawrence has overtaken Lynn Rosenthal in campaign contributions.  Predictably, Rosenthal started strong, but the DUI arrest in May killed the golden incumbent goose.  Since the “sleep driving” problems arose, she’s raised peanuts, with corresponding gains by the underdog challenger.  As of August 8th, the last reporting period, McLawrence had collected $47,237, to Rosenthal’s $44,662.  The challenger even boasts a combined  $1000 donation by Past President of the Florida Bar Eugene Pettis and his law firm, made on August 5th.  According to the most recent numbers, McLawrence has spent $30,000 of his war chest, while Rosenthal has burned through an astounding $150,000, after self-financing to the tune of $145,000.  Will raw spending power eclipse the prestige of the McLawrence campaign?  Or has public opinion turned against Rosenthal to the point she can’t possibly win?  Only eight days until the election

(Click here to review all Circuit campaign finance activity)

(Click here to review all County campaign finance activity)

Who wants to be the Clerk of Courts? – names we’re hearing so far, some definitely in the rumor category: PDO Administrative Director Liz McHugh, Attorney Richard Kaplan, Clerk’s Administrator Diane Diaz, Politico Ilene Lieberman, and Clerk’s Counsel Julie Shapiro Harris (unless she’s a judge by then).  As far as the possibility of Howard Forman anointing a successor, he’s still playing coy.  Only two years until the election

SS (2001)/New Clerk Of Courts Pads Payroll With Political Allies

Who Invented The Concept Of The Public Defender? – a woman named Clara Foltz, of course, way back in the 1890’s.  Read all about her here

Strung out in heaven’s high, hitting an all-time low …

ECO Update – with George Shahood’s Order stayed, The Truth About is back online …


JQC v. Hawkins/Judith Hawkins pleads for her judicial life

SS/Voting light at early sites and mail balloting 

Mayo/To pick Broward judges, try a dartboard

LA Times/LAPD’s in-car camera effort is lagging