PRAYERS

Hearts and minds go out to Gisele Pollack, who apparently is battling some personal demons this holiday season.  This is one story we purposely steered away from, but with mainstream media poised to break it shortly, Tuesday’s work hours’ intervention will become public record nonetheless.  It’s a shame though, since this is one judge who has dedicated her career to evening the playing field, and getting help for people like herself who struggle with a sometimes overpowering disease. 

Our prayers to Gisele as she weathers the storm …

Coming SoonChief Judge Stacy Ross?; Cindy Imperato back to Criminal …

SS: Drug court judge acts erratically, admits she needs help

BBeat: Judge Haunted By Her Struggle With Alcohol

Bob Norman: Broward drug court judge has meltdown, headed to rehab (video)

SS: Judge Dale Ross presides over Lori Parrish/Bill Scherer case, despite close ties

BBeat: Ginger Lerner-Wren honored by The HiiL Foundation



        Judge Philip Banks
            (1945-2013)

Coming Soon – County judges vying to replace
Eileen O’Connor on the circuit;
“Permissive Pete” Weinstein; 2014 – The Year of Blogging Dangerously …

SS: Careful With That Axe, Eugene …

A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE

 Evan Hoffman writes:

Imagine not being able to go to Thanksgiving dinner with your family because your judge won’t set a hearing on an agreed motion. That’s what is happening to my client.

I have a client who recently resolved his cases and is currently on house arrest. He lives in Broward county and wants to attend Thanksgiving with his family in Broward. (That’s right he is not leaving the county).

His cc officer told him to get a court order to have permission to leave his house. I filed a motion, got the State to agree, and was told that the judge was out Wednesday and there was no room on the docket Tuesday. (That’s right no time for an agreed motion just to have the judge sign the order).

My office asked the ja who is covering her calendar and the ja said she would call my office back to tell us. Lo and behold the ja never called back so we called her. Her response was that she deleted the email of who the duty judge is. So I had to call around and find out the duty judge. Now because the ja wouldn’t set a 5 second agreed hearing I’m at the mercy of the duty judge to sign the agreed order.

Of course it would be nice if the ja of the assigned judge would let us email the stipulated order or let us fax it in but apparently that’s not permitted.

Now I have to tell my client’s family that Judge McCarthy did not have room on her calendar to set an agreed 5 second hearing or permit us to fax or email the paperwork.

Here’s hoping that the duty judge finds it within themselves to understand my frustration and sign the order.

What happened to open access to the court?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and hopefully my client will spend his Thanksgiving with his family as well.

Evan Hoffman

(Post a comment if you’ve also had trouble getting things on McCarthy’s docket.  We’re told Evan’s not alone this Holiday Season …)

COMING SOON Dancing to Boss Reporting’s tune …

JAABLOG PRESENTS: “You Make The Call”


              

                               DOUBLE DIPPING or BRINGING HOME THE BACON

                                                              

                                                     
YOU MAKE THE CALL!

Judges are parents too, and they want their kids to get the best education possible.  But should members of the Broward judiciary be allowed to teach at private schools during traditional court hours in exchange for lucrative tuition breaks?  At least two 17th Circuit judges are doing just that, starting their mornings late, and giving rise to complaints of rushed A.M. dockets and hearings, in addition to causing even greater time pressures on already stressed litigants, staff, jurors, and attorneys.  Others are quick to point out that other judges start just as late for no good reason at all, arguing no harm, no foulPeter Weinstein has yet to call back confirming official policy in this area, so until then … You Make the Call!

RICKARD v. FELD

 Game on!

A second county court judge has been challenged.  Ellen Feld will be joining Ian Richards on the campaign trail this season.

Here is Mark Rickard’s filing  from earlier today.

And it’s only November, 2013 …

 Marc Shiner

Cindy Imperato has hired a lawyer.  Palm Beach’s Marc Shiner, a former prosecutor

Coming Soon – Guess who showed up at Happy Hour?; Discover why the Florida Bar hasn’t moved against more RRA lawyers; Stacy Ross’ replacement is …



Gisele Pollack preparing to mow down
4000 cases a month starting January …

GRUDGE MATCH!

Adria Quintela is the Florida Bar’s new Director of Lawyer Regulation.  She starts the first week of January, after Ken Marvin’s retirement.  Quintela’s position as head of the Bar’s Broward office has not yet been filled, or listed with the general public.  She will remain in Broward, serving as a “remote” Director of Lawyer Regulation.

Surprised?  Don’t be.  The Bar is certainly perverse enough to put Quintela in charge of keeping all the lawyers in Florida in check.  During her time,* Broward rose to unparalleled levels of corruption. 
Judges ran amok, Scott Rothstein and company did as they pleased, Scheinberg was initially cleared, Bar agent Charles Morehead leaked like a sieve, Lorraine Hoffman went turbo, and the Bar attacked the few whistleblowers who actually stood up to injustice, like Chris Roberts , and this very blog.  If the past is any indication, all of Florida can expect more of the same, except on an even grander scale, if possible.

On the bright side, Quintela will now have to return her calls.  While it was next to impossible to get her to call us back on questions of public importance in the past, Ken Marvin made it a point to communicate with the outside world.  And since there’s a possibility Quintela may try to reignite the misguided, failed local attacks on free speech a la Bar v. Blog, at least now she’ll have to explain herself, instead of staying in the shadows.

From Bar Director John Berry’s October 8th email, announcing Quintela’s ascension:

It is my pleasure to let you know that Adria Quintela will replace Ken Marvin as Staff Counsel beginning the first week in January, 2014. Ms. Quintela will perform her duties from the Ft. Lauderdale Office and we will begin immediately to advertise to replace her as the Chief Disciplinary Counsel in that office.

The ability to have such an incredibly gifted and experienced bar counsel to replace Ken is directly related to the technology advances the Florida Bar has made through what is called our CAMFI system in which we have all our files and pleadings from all branches accessible on the computer. Likewise we have the ability and have been regularly using video conferencing to all the branches and will be using SCOPIA allowing me and others in headquarters to communicate visually on our computers.

As we began to study the feasibility of a remote Staff Counsel it became clear that a huge majority of Ken’s work is related to reviews of pleadings, agenda items and other documents found on our system. Likewise calls coming from you and others are in essence also “remote”. The duties of supervising the headquarters lawyer regulation functions of conditional admissions, probation monitoring and statistical data entry will now be given to Arne Vanstrum in Tallahassee who has been training for well over a year to both take on those duties but to help with the transition of a new staff counsel.

Years ago we utilized one of our leaders of a branch to help with some of these kinds of duties and it was found to be both useful and a boost to the branches to know someone from the trenches was the one involved in supervising their work and decisions. Adria has demonstrated excellent management skills in revitalizing the Ft. Lauderdale office and all the while remaining involved in the actual handling of very complex cases. She has excelled at both and those skills will be invaluable in her new job duties.

Most of you have direct contact with Ken and down the road may have that same contact with Adria though remote and Arne.  Any questions feel free to call. We will miss Ken very much and we are also very excited to have Adria come on board.

I have been most privileged and honored for many years to have worked with Tony Boggs and Ken Marvin. We have worked together as a team and it is with a great sense of relief to know we can continue  with the experience and dedication of Ms. Quintela.

Should you have any questions I am here for you.
 
John Berry

* Quintela started with the Bar in March, 1996, and became the local Director in October, 2005.

                        LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

 See You Thursday!

The B’nai B’rith Justice Unit and United States Holocaust Museum invite you to attend a special presentation by Dr. Will Meinecke:

Law, Justice and the Holocaust: How the Courts failed Germany 

(Approved for 2 General CLE hours; Approved for 1.5 hours of non-conference CJE, of which .50 is Ethics)

When: Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:30 pm-7 pm

Where: Jury Assembly Room (Room 380) of the Broward County Judicial Complex, 201 SE 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL  

A reception serving light hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will immediately follow in the Ballroom of the 110 Tower (7th Floor), 110 SE 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Dietary Laws Observed)

(Please RSVP by calling Marty Johnson, 954/831-0601 or by e-mail to
mjohnson@17th.flcourts.org.  Please indicate if you will be attending both the presentation and reception, or presentation only)

GOING TO THE HAGUE!Ginger Lerner-Wren r
eceived the following on November 12th: 

We are very happy to inform you that your successful innovation in the 2013 Innovating Justice Awards has been selected by our jury as one of the best entries in this year’s competition. You have therefore been chosen as one of the top three candidates and are hereby invited to the Innovating Justice Awards ceremony in The Hague, Netherlands, on 10-11 December, during which the overall winner will be announced.

We congratulate you on this achievement in a very competitive and high quality competition this year. In the course of the next few days, we will further inform you of travel and accommodation options in the Hague.

The HiiL Team


Fun With Statutes – did anyone commit perjury in conjunction with the first Loureiro trial?  People are still asking the question, since 775.15 (6) (“Time limitations”) says:
 
A prosecution for perjury in an official proceeding that relates to the prosecution of a capital felony may be commenced at any time.” 

An “official proceeding” is defined in 
837.011  as:
 
a proceeding heard, or which may be or is required to be heard, before any legislative, judicial, administrative, or other governmental agency or official authorized to take evidence under oath, including any referee, general or special magistrate, administrative law judge, hearing officer, hearing examiner, commissioner, notary, or other person taking testimony or a deposition in connection with any such proceeding.” (Emphasis Added)

AND THIS,
FROM 837.02 , Perjury in official proceedings:

(2) Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding that relates to the prosecution of a capital felony, commits a felony of the second degree (Emphasis Added)

Perjury is certainly confusing stuff, worthy of explanation by a Nova Law School professor like Bruce Rogow, who just happened to be in on Gardiner’s deposition following Loureiro I.  That deposition
is found here on page 30/180 of the PDF, and it’s definitely worth a read, just in case Bob Norman was right.  In any event, let’s hope The Supreme Court answers everyone’s questions soon, and also unveils the top secret stuff that happened with both the JQC and the Bar concerning Gardiner.  The sanctity of the system is on the line, and the public deserves not only answers, but justice as well …

BROWARD COUNTY JUDICIAL PROCEDURE MANUAL

SS: Tundidor death penalty case latest fallout from Imperato arrest

SS: Destry’s Night of Horror

JAABCAM




1.) SDFL’s  David Markus, caught slumming in State Court a few weeks back.  After a couple days, he left with a Not Guilty verdict; 2.) Circuit court candidate Stacey Schulman; 3.) Mari Blumstein and 4.) Giuseppina Miranda anxiously await Rick Scott’s impending decision as to who will replace Stacy Ross on the county bench.



                    Tonya Alanez and Johnny McCray

SS: Imperato’s arrest triggers a walk down judicial memory lane …

        (Starring Feiner, Levenson, Barry Cohen, Dale Ross,
Gardiner, Diaz, Julian, Greene, Korda, Seidlin, Howard Berman)

WELL DONE MICKEY ROCQUE! – The Sun Sentinel’s Megan O’Matz and John Maines have made national news with
in-depth reporting  on Sunrise PD’s efforts to lure drug dealers into their jurisdiction.  The big money stings have made millions for the City of Sunrise, and Satz’s Drug Trafficking Unit (DTU) has been more than willing to go along, no matter how many innocent men, women, and children were put in danger.  The good news, of course, is that Sunrise PD is no longer in the drug selling business, after public pressure following the Sentinel article shut them down. 

The reporters deserve a lot of credit.  This is long form investigative journalism at its finest.  Exhaustively researched and well written, with the payoff of an egregious government excess being stopped dead in its tracks.  It’s what the Fourth Estate is supposed to be all about, even in the day of the incredible shrinking newspaper.

Without taking anything from O’Matz or Maines, it’s important to remember the guy who got the ball rolling.  The story was broken right here on JAABLOG, back in
November of 2011 (“D … T … PEE-YEW!”), all because of Mickey Rocque. Offended by what he had learned while defending one of his clients, Rocque went public, despite the potential for angering the powers that be.  His courage made it possible for the Sentinel to pick up on the story and shut down the shameful practice, as no individual lawyer could have.  It’s a lesson all attorneys interested in making more than money should take to heart, for no matter how unlikely it sometimes seems, public exposure almost always slays a misbehaving Goliath. 

So, hats off to Mickey Rocque.  The man who was so instrumental in bringing Drug Court to backwards Broward now has another victory of far reaching implications to call his own.  But knowing Mick, he’ll never mention it again, which is why we’re doing it for him.  Well Done!

SS: Loose cash found hidden in Sunrise Police narcotics office

BBeat – Merrilee Ehrlich acting all cocky

Bob Norman w/ Weinstein re Imperato (video)

NBC National News: Ex-Prosecutor/Ex-Judge jailed for withholding evidence

FRIDAY NOTES

We’re back (and forth) on the blogging thing these days, so enjoy it while it’s here.  And please continue to check back infrequently, just in case we’re feeling it …

Made For Each Other
– what do you get for the guy and gal who have everything?  That’s what we’ve been asking, despite the fact our invitation to this weekend’s wedding of David Bogenschutz and Gardiner up in North Carolina must have gotten lost in the mail.  In any event, everyone must have breathed a sigh of relief that the Supreme Court didn’t deliver their gift to the new Mrs. Bogenschutz before the nuptials, although it’s sure to arrive shortly.  But let’s not detract from the good thing that came from so much bad, namely Broward’s newest legal power couple.  Congratulations!

Winner, Winner, Chicken DinnerEd Merrigan’s promotion to U.S. Army Colonel was confirmed by the Senate earlier this week.  Anyone even remotely familiar with reruns of M*A*S*H will tell you that’s a big deal indeed, as very few ever achieve Full Bird status, especially during peacetime.  Could a General’s Star be in Ed’s future?  And a circuit judgeship as well?  The sky’s the limit, when you’re a thoughtful and patient guy.  Well Done!

Oh Marni! – guess who came in last for all county judges in both the Knowledge & Application Of Law and the Impartiality (Freedom From Bias & Prejudice) categories in the 2013 Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluations?  Marni Bryson, that’s who!  Check out all the poll results here, and the 2014 PB Judicial Rotations here.  It’s going to be a long hot summer …  

Tell Me Why (I Don’t like Wednesdays) – everybody knows Bobby Diaz typically insists on two days to try a single misdemeanor case, which means if he doesn’t get something started on Tuesdays, he often doesn’t have court Wednesdays.  Accordingly, we checked in to see how many discs were available for purchase from digital court reporting services at the courthouse from the last eleven Diaz Wednesdays.  THREE was the answer.  One day for roughly three hours, one for about 25 minutes, and one all day affair.  The other EIGHT Wednesdays, stretching back to August 28th, reportedly don’t have any recordings at all, meaning eight of the last eleven Diaz work weeks found him off the bench all day at least once.  A call to his office Thursday confirmed Diaz was Relief judge one Wednesday and not expected to be in court, and that he was not sick or on vacation during the period in question, meaning a whole ton of precious and expensive courtroom time is being squandered by Peter Weinstein’s judicial administration.  Diaz may prefer to work in his office while most judges are busy in their courtrooms, but the same Chief Judge who certified the need  for SIX new $134,000 a year county judges in 2013 (plus pension/benefits/judicial assistant’s salary) ought to examine why Diaz’s courtroom isn’t being utilized by someone wearing a robe to move cases most Wednesdays.  Your tax dollars at work, as if anybody cared …

Unhappy Halloween – nobody can accuse Matt Destry of not utilizing his courtroom time to the max.  Last week Thursday may have been Halloween, but that didn’t stop Destry from keeping everyone in court way past 11:00 PM, no matter how many ghouls and goblins were swirling about.  That’s right, since it wasn’t a nationally recognized holiday, lawyers, witnesses, and staff lost out on sharing Halloween with family.  Apparently, the ensuing courthouse-wide disbelief and backlash was extreme enough for Destry to reportedly announce in court that he will never again keep anyone past 7:00 PM, so a lesson may have been learned.  Stay tuned to mainstream media on this one, as we hear a full story is in the works …

Reversed! – it’s not often the Fourth DCA gets to reverse a Florida Supreme Court justice, but it happened on October 30th.  The Palm Beach appellate court sent a 2005 Jorge Labarga case back for a new trial, calling the conviction “fundamentally flawed” because of improper jury instructions.  Labarga was still a lowly trial court judge  at the time, but his unusual meteoric rise to the Supremes, after a brief pit stop on the Fourth, made it possible for the current District Court of Appeals to turn the tables on one of their bosses.  The opinion is here, and pro se to boot …

Speaking of the Supremes – did Barbara Pariente reference the blog during a speech at the recent Broward Bench & Bar Conference?  The demands of fighting against the racist drug war kept us from personally attending the judicial suckfest, but we’re told there was indeed a nice comment about Broward’s love of blogging.  Oh well, obviously we have no choice but to keep writing, since absolutely everyone seems to be reading …

A First Time For Everything – it’s  not often a lawyer gets to blame the need for a continuance on the President of the United States.  A BSO Deputy called off a deposition set for November 8th earlier this week, due to a last minute assignment working the presidential motorcade for Friday’s fundraising visit.  Barack Obama now owes us the cost of serving a subpoena and a witness fee check, but we’ll let it slide just this once …

Blog Mother Bows Outher judicial application  got the Broward reform movement started.  In any event, it’s all water under the courthouse now, that dank, dark place where many once promising judicial careers lie trapped and stagnant …

Coming SoonBob Belanger, meet Mrs. Bucket … sorry, Mrs. B
ouquet
; The new Ken Marvin; Mickey Rocque restores law and order to the City of Sunrise; FELONY VOP BLITZ; Catching up with Garret Cunningham; On the Road with Eugene Pettis



            Meyer Lansky and Joe Varon

Pending Criminal Charges Got Korda Disqualified …

… Yes, the Judge is entitled to the presumption of innocence in his
criminal case. But that hardly generates a coincident supposition that
litigants in cases over which he presides while his own criminal charges
are unresolved need have no reason to fear his impartiality has been
impaired. We are bereft of reasons to escape reversal on this ground …

*UPDATE* – SS – Imperato requests transfer to Foreclosures, Paul Backman to cover

BUSTED!



PB Post: Boca Raton police arrest Broward judge on DUI charge

It’s a Refusal …

Coming Soon Wedded Bliss!

*UPDATE*




Lastly, JAABLOG’s two phone messages to Peter Weinstein earlier today questioning whether a judge with pending criminal charges would be allowed to sit in a criminal division have yet to be returned …