Lynn Rosenthal has been involved in a car accident this morning, allegedly striking a police car and the gate of the judicial parking lot.  She’s reportedly not injured, and BSO is investigating the crash.  Marty Bidwill is covering her docket, and her BMW SVU was still positioned outside the semi-closed gate a few minutes ago when we took a picture for posting later in the day.  Lots of crazy rumors are circulating as to what happened, but all completely unconfirmed at this time.  There are cameras out there, so hopefully the investigation will proceed quickly …


*UPDATE* Steve Feren led the jury room ceremonies Tuesday morning, May 27th.  If you still don’t think this is about votes, you’re crazy …’s Buddy Nevins wrote a nice piece over the long weekend concerning challenged incumbents swearing-in jurors, called Judges Being Allowed To Campaign In Courthouse.  Buddy is strongly against the practice, calling it “unfair“.

You can read the post here, with a revised ending, as follows:

“I’m told that Clerk of the Courts Howard Forman controls the jury room.  If Forman is responsible, he should make sure that Richards, Rosenthal and Feren would be the last justices to swear-in jurors until after the election.”

The article’s original ending went like this:

(Peter) Weinstein owes (JAABLOG) and the public an answer. It looks like the chief judge is trying to involve himself in the judges’ campaigns, which is strictly forbidden by the Code of Judicial Conduct.

If I were the chief judge, Richards, Rosenthal and Feren would be the last justices to swear-in jurors until after the election.”

The reason for the change is unknown at this time, but as a fellow blogger, we can attest that posts are typically written quickly, without benefit of an editor, and often are followed by post-publication revisions, and in rare circumstances, phone calls requesting clarification.  However, the change does serve to highlight a very important issue, as follows: who should be held responsible for shameless election season jury room practices?

The answer seems to be both the clerk of courts and the chief judge, together with the challenged judges, who ought to know better.

It’s Howard Forman’s jury room, after all.  Swearing in the jurors is a clerk’s function, which means he can do it personally, or have one of his employees handle the chore, just like in court.  And if he wants to allow a challenged judge to lead the ceremony, the least he can do is give equal time to the other candidates.  If equal access isn’t feasible, then Forman should keep all the judges out of the jury room until the end of election season.  Period.

On the other hand Peter Weinstein, as chief judge, is responsible for stopping errant behavior by 17th Circuit judges.  We’ve personally brought the matter to the attention of Sharon Zeller, Weinstein’s head of county courts.  Additionally, although nobody will admit it, this blog and BrowardBeat are widely read in courthouse circles.  If Weinstein doesn’t know what’s going on, then problems at the top are even worse than previously imagined.  For while Weinstein may not be “trying to involve himself in the judges’ campaigns“, his failure to quickly put a stop to the practice by speaking to either Forman or the judges in question directly could certainly be interpreted as an approving nod to an unfair election season gimmick.

So, who do you think is responsible, besides the individual judges?  Forman or Weinstein? 

You make the call …

ETC. – Canon 7C(3) … “A judicial candidate involved in an election or re-election … may attend a political party function to speak in behalf of his or her candidacy or on a matter that relates to the law, the improvement of the legal system, or the administration of justice. The function must not be a fund raiser, and the invitation to speak must also include the other candidates, if any, for that office … ” (emphasis added)


Canon 2A(b)“A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge … “

36 DOWN TO 20

On May 30th the JNC will interview the following twenty individuals for consideration to replace both Joe Murphy and Ed Merrigan on the county court.  Interviews will be held at the Broward Bar Association, and are open to the public:

Michael Bernstein, Mari Blumstein, Monique Brochu, Kal Le Var Evans, Keathan Frink, Donald Gelin, Douglas Harrison, Susan Odzer Hugentugler, Dan Kanner, Phyllis Williams Kotey, Charlie Levy, Chris Narducci, Stefanie Moon, Thomas Oates, Vicki Plant, Michele Ricca, Abbe Rifkin, Richard Sachs, Maxine Streeter, Stephen Zaccor.
Coming Sooner Than Expected, And Why – Joe Murphy’s retirement …


Challenged incumbent Steve Feren swore in the jury pool Wednesday morning.  Lynn Rosenthal was there Tuesday, and Ian Richards made an appearance last week.  On Monday, no one showed up, so a Clerk’s employee did it, just like in court.

Judicial Administration doesn’t seem concerned as to what’s going on in the jury room.  It’s as in your face as can be, begging the question, have the judges with opponents already secured a green light from the JEAC?  Only time will tell, since we’re hearing rumblings the JEAC may be queried by someone with standing soon on the issues presented.  In the meantime, is it possible candidates could be offered equal time, just to make things fair?  It is a Clerk’s function, after all …

Coming Soon – Where’s Mel Grossman, and would you like your case to be heard by Peggy Gehl?

Five years for Adria Quintela impersonator



Coming SoonPeggy Gehl goes too far …


Fair or foul?Lynn Rosenthal took a star turn in the jury room Tuesday morning, putting on a roughly five minute show for a room full of captive registered voters.  During the swearing-in ceremony, Rosenthal mentioned her name three times, and concluded by inviting everyone up to Room 6810, her assigned courtroom, for a looksy

Of course, Rosenthal isn’t the first judge battling it out at the polls to take advantage of the central courthouse jury room perk.  Ian Richards was spotted just last week, despite being assigned to the Hollywood satellite courthouse, where jurors aren’t needed.  And everyone remembers Bobby Diaz back in 2012, who took jury room shtik to a whole new level.

The question now is whether the 2014 challengers are going to sit back and take it.  Both the JEAC  and JQC would have jurisdiction to address the issue,* but getting information out of either agency is damn near impossible.  In fact, a JEAC member’s JA told us earlier today the judicial advisory board would only communicate with a judge or a judicial candidate, which unfortunately means the complaint route may be the sole remedy for any other interested parties.  And on the local level, Howard Forman half-heartedly told us he’s “looking into it“, while Peter Weinstein has made it perfectly clear he won’t answer good questions from pesky bloggers. 

All said, it’s really a shame.  It’s so transparently unfair to all those hoping for an election on the merits, while reinforcing the 17th Circuit’s image of a judiciary primarily driven by political concerns.  And with Weinstein running the show, it seems unlikely things will change before the election in August, absent external pressure …

* See Canon 2A(b)“A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge … “

JAABWALK Monday – yesterday’s sojourn started at 2:20 PM, and finished at 2:36 PM.  Out of 36 old courthouse courtrooms checked on ostensibly the busiest day of the week, 16 were empty, 1 had just wrapped up for the day (helmed earlier by a GM), and 19 were occupied.  Of those in use, 1 was staffed by a circuit juvenile judge, 1 by a circuit criminal mental health judge, and 2 by senior judges.  Nice work if you can get it, indeed …

*CORRECTION*regarding one of the many unanswered questions posed to Peter Weinstein in the Dear Peter … post, it must be stated that Sharon Zeller has always had a full time division, carrying just as many cases as other county civil judges, in addition to her administrative duties.  All apologies, and sorry it took so long to correct, although it would have been nice if the chief judge had bothered to set the record straight himself, when the question was first posed …

Coming Soon JAABLOG writes the Miami Herald, but will they print it?; JNC cuts; Judical Administration, Boss Reporting, and you; RESIGNING WOMEN.

Florida Bar releases findings in Tampa Attorney DUI set up case

4th DCA orders Bel-an-jay to get off a whole bunch of cases

Graham Update – Tallahassee DCA upholds 1,000 year sentence for 17 year old

Atlanta JC – At least judges can still buy dildos without a prescription

Bob Norman Video – Woman says she was beaten up by BSO deputies in jail

Bob Norman Video – BSO beatdown Deputy strikes again  (Gary Kollin)

The Atlantic – What If Cities Stopped Participating in the War on Drugs?

LA Times – Smartphone anti-theft “Kill Switch” coming soon

WSJ – FBI needs pothead programmers too

Volokh Conspiracy – A sad judicial family story

Business Week – Led Zeppelin’s latest plagiarism legal woes

SS: Hillstrom gets 10 months for JAABLOG threats

Rumpole – New CLE Brady standards for felony lawyers

Captain – Bad news for court appointed counsel

SS – 4th DCA tells Paul Backman to keep his private thoughts to himself

YouTube – Little Feat’s Lowell George on F Troop  (1967)

Lowell George & Linda Ronstadt “Willin”  (1975)

            RIP COREY DWYER


The North Wing of the central courthouse is on high alert.  The entire building stinks of gas, and not the kind that can blow up if someone carelessly lights a match.  Building staff is currently trying to figure out whether it’s a busted sewer line or just a superhumanly clogged toilet.  In the meantime, hold your breath if you have business in the circuit criminal divisions this morning.


It’s been a long time since either the Florida Bar or the Broward Bar Association (BCBA) issued a judicial poll for the 17th Circuit.  In fact, the only ones we could find online were this one from 2002  by the Bar, and this one from 2008  by BCBA.  Rumor has it judges don’t like being rated, which is reason enough for JAABLOG to pick up the ball and run with it.

So here’s the deal.  Judges will be broken up by division assignments, and rank (county or circuit).  Larger divisions, like criminal, will be subdivided by floor, so as not to overwhelm the voting public.  Groups of judges will go out every so often for rating, again so as not to overload those who care to share an opinion.  Votes will be cast in the form of your comments, and preserved online for anyone searching in the future for a Broward judicial poll or survey.

Ours is a lot less scientific than theirs, but much more than checking a box.  As previously stated, it’s just your comments, which means you can be as detailed as you want.  Topic areas to consider are Intelligence Level, Integrity/Ethics, Demeanor & Temperament, Work Ethic, Efficiency & Office Management, and for circuit judges, Qualifications For Chief Judge.  Check out the BCBA’s 2008 categories for a more exhaustive list of criteria, or make up your own.  Anything you have to add is relevant, and the public has a right to know.

And now, starting with circuit criminal 4th floor, here are the first judges to be rated:

   Ilona Holmes        Lisa Porter            Raag Singhal      Mike Rothschild     Matt Destry

Make Your Voice Heard!


The following individulas will be considered to replace Ed Merrigan and Joe Murphy on the county court:

1. David Barkey; 2. Michael Berstein; 3. Mari Blumstein; 4. Monique Brochu;
5. Haccord J. Curry, Jr.;  6. Kal Le Var Evans; 7. Phoebee Rebecca Francois;
8. Keathan Frink; 9. Donald Gelin; 10. Douglas Harrison; 11. Susan Odzer Hugentugler;
12. Jose Hurtado; 13. Doreen Inkeles; 14. Daniel Kanner; 15. Ernest Kollra;
16. Phyllis Williams Kotey; 17. Charlie B. Levy; 18. Samuel D. Lopez;
19. Chris A. Narducci; 20. Rhoda Nelson; 21. Andrew Newman; 22. Stefanie Moon;
23. Thomas Oates; 24. Vicki Plant; 25. Michele McCaul Ricca; 26. Mark Rickard;
27. Abbe S. Rifkin; 28. Derrick Roberts; 29. Rosa Romero; 30. Jason Allen Rosner;
31. James K. Rubin; 32. Richard A. Sachs; 33. Maxine Streeter;
34. Natalie Knight-Tai; 35. Gerard Williams; 36. Stephen J. Zaccor.

The applicants will be notified by May 23, 2014 if they are being interviewed.  Interviews will be held at the Broward County Bar Association, 1051 SE 3rd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 on May 30, 2014 beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Interviews are open to the public.     



Judges are held to stricter ethical standards than lawyers
because more rectitude is expected of them”

Kerry Evander

Six and a half reasons why KeysInfoNet is missing the point …

Coming Soon – Calling on Weinstein, Scherer, and the Sun Sentinel to weigh in for judicial diversity before the JNC makes the cut; JEAC or JQC? – is Canon 2A(b) violated by challenged judges who suddenly find time to swear-in jury pools? (“A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge … “); Politics, the Supreme Court, and the Gardiner decision …