*UPDATE* 8:45 PM THURSDAYHoward Finkelstein spoke to us from his home.  He confirmed what he told the Sun Sentinel earlier today about 2018.  When asked about a run for Congress in 2020, he stated: “You never can say never because in a million years I never thought I would become the elected public defender, or have my own TV segment.

COMING SOON – 2020 …

*UPDATE* – SS: Finkelstein not running for Congress … in 2018 

“Howard Finkelstein said Thursday he’s not sure what he’ll be doing when he retires as Broward County public defender when his current term expires (2020) — but it won’t involve running for Congress in 2018 … “


Mr. Finkelstein goes to Washington?

Developing …


BACDL has joined Howard Finkelstein’s call to remove Mardi Levey Cohen from the criminal bench.

NBC 6 originally broke the story back on May 1st, in a report titled Public Defender Wants ‘Bully’ Broward Judge Removed.

On June 16th, BACDL President Huda Ajlani-Macri authored this strongly worded letter to Jack Tuter, urging the incoming chief judge to reassign Levey Cohen, and to review audio tapes, transcripts, and witness affidavits of her alleged disrespectful judicial behavior. Meanwhile, sources have defended Levey Cohen since the NBC story originally aired, claiming the courtroom tapes have been improperly cherry-picked and taken out of context.

In any event, it may all be a moot point.  Whatever the impetus, Levey-Cohen has been rumored to be leaving in July for a civil division since the NBC story came out.

Definitely a wait and see …

COMING SOONTHO Tribulations …


Jack Tuter is reportedly continuing his reorganization of the civil division.   In addition to Barbara McCarthy being bounced for Raag Singhal, we’re told Mike Robinson announced he’s being moved to civil, in replacement of Bill Haury, although some witnesses say he said Fred Horowitz.  Horowitz’s office, however, said they are staying put.

Still unconfirmed  …

*UPDATE* -Robinson said “Haury” …


The SAO’s beleaguered Homicide Trial Unit is rumored to be getting a shot in the arm. Scuttlebutt has current FTU chief Peter Holden and current CCU boss Tony Loe heading to homicide, with an invitation out to Debbie Zimet to “unretire”.  Long time head of juvenile Maria Schneider may move to FTU, with Regina Faulk taking over for Loe …

Still unconfirmed …

4th DCA quashes Holmes’ order in DP case …

(Background – SS: Fidel Lopez speedy trial demand)


Our apologies, but the SAO had responded to our inquiry regarding the Amy Bloom matter, prior to our post at 5:58 p.m.  Blame it on the courthouse Wi-Fi …

As follows, received at 4:55 p.m.

Ron Ishoy writes:

Thank you for your inquiry. We do not comment upon personnel decisions. I can tell you that later this afternoon an e-mail was sent to staff explaining the State’s policy on office accessories. That e-mail is enclosed below:

There is apparently some confusion regarding the purchasing of refrigerators for the personal use of state employees.

All expenditures of state funds must be authorized by law.

Pursuant to the Department of Financial Services, Division of Accounting and Auditing, the expenditures and payment of items used generally for the personal convenience of employees; such as portable heaters, refrigerators, microwaves, clocks for private offices, coffee pots and supplies, etc., which are not necessary in order for a state agency to carry out its statutory duties are not allowed.

Many of us have personally contributed and donated to the purchase of refrigerators to help other divisions when they were not able to collect enough funds. Please let us know when you need help.

We hope this helps resolve the issue and should you have any questions for future purchases please don’t hesitate to check with me.

Monica McCaughan Hofheinz
Office of the State Attorney 17th Judicial Circuit




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Mike Satz seems to be losing a step or two in the PR department.  If rumors are true, recently promoted Supervising ASA Amy Bloom has been demoted and suspended without pay, after sending the above email to 94 recipients at the SAO yesterday.

Satz’s PIO Ron Ishoy, currently banking $102,314 annually, has not responded to our late afternoon call and email to confirm whether Bloom has indeed been suspended, and whether it’s in response to Bloom’s emailed criticism of the $80,000 being paid to SAO Community Programs Director Lisa Arneaud, whose controversial hiring we told you about back in November.  Bloom also may have sent an email around earlier this month in support of a raise for ASA’s, around the time Katherine Fernandez Rundle was taking a public stand on behalf of her employees in Miami.

Could it be things are even worse at the SAO than previously imagined?  Is there anyone left who believes Satz is still in it for anyone but himself?  Wait and see …


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Time for a little Coffee Talk?

The issue: Are divisional assignments for Broward Judges being made for electoral benefit?

That seems to be what Barbara McCarthy told the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board last summer.  She may have been looking at David Saloman when she said “I was told that if I moved to civil, I wouldn’t have any opposition“, but judicial assignments are made by the Chief Judge, and nobody else.  Was there some sort of deal in place to help her with the election, and now that she’s won, is that why she’s rumored to be returning to criminal?