MONDAY NOTES

Gone fishin’ – our little fishing expedition may have hooked a big one.  It’s conjecture at this point, but there’s no denying we’ve got a nibble. 

It has to do with the public records request sent to BSO last week.  The legal department got back to us today, but still couldn’t provide an answer as to whether or not Lynn Feig-Rosenthal’s property receipt from county jail will be released.

It turns out the jail property inventory form may contain information that’s exempt from disclosure.  They’ve consulted with the Attorney’s General’s Office for guidance, and will be conducting further research to see if all items can be released, or if redactions may be necessary to keep certain things confidential.  BSO promised an answer by the close of business Wednesday.

All other questions were politely declined to be answered, including whether or not Feig-Rosenthal was booked in possession of a validly prescribed controlled substance which could cause impaired driving.  So for now it’s wait and see until Wednesday, unless the accused judge agrees to release all property information before things start to get ugly, just like when the mugshot was at issue.  A call to attorney Brian Silber inquiring about a waiver was placed late today, so stay tuned

Swing and a miss!
Peter Weinstein took a turn at bat today for the home town heroes.  He issued a widely covered statement Monday, a full six days after the third Broward judge was arrested for DUI.  It turns out the 17th Circuit is a-ok, although the wisdom of sustaining yet another opportunity so late in the game to rehash credibility-busting judicial mishaps is being questioned by more than a few pundits.  But hey, you can’t knock a guy for trying.  Check out the Sun Sentinel’s coverage here, featuring the heading Trust Us, complete with a nifty montage of three judges’ mugs.

Coming SoonHoward Finkelstein opts out of Broward’s Felony Mental Health Court; Location, Location, Location; How the Jury Room Swearing In System Really Works …

SS: Judges lack judgment, but not chutzpah

BrowardBeat: DUI Judges Have Been Reassigned To Non-Criminal Matters

SFL: Broward Chief Judge…..zzzzzzzzzzz

SS: Broward judge temporarily homeless …

*VIDEO – FIST FIGHT BETWEEN BREVARD JUDGE AND APD*

Judge Murphy
: “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass … “

“I will catch my breath eventually,” Murphy said. “Man, I’m an old man.”

WHITE PUNKS ON DOPE

BLACKS NEED NOT APPLY

The following six names have been sent to Governor Scott for consideration to replace both Ed Merrigan and Joe Murphy:

Keathan Frink, Thomas Oates, Abbe Rifkin, Richard Sachs, Maxine Streeter, Steve Zaccor.

A surprising and disappointing list.  Dan Kanner, a rumored favorite, was not sent up.  And despite the woeful lack of diversity in the 17th Circuit and the large number of qualified minority applicants this time around, Keathan Frink appears to be the only minority chosen.  Qualified applicants Doug Harrison  and Donald Gelin were outright blanked, despite Harrison having been previously vetted and appointed by the Governor’s office to his current position on the South Broward Hospital District, and Gelin’s years of service with BSO’s legal division.

Developing



Coming Soon – The End Of An Era?

REFUSAL MANIA

SS Editorial: Judges don’t trust system, but we are supposed to?


We want to trust judges.

But something smells bad in Broward County: All three Broward judges arrested on DUI charges over the past six months refused to take either a blood or breath test …

… if (Lynn) Rosenthal took more than one pill, or mixed an Ambien with other pills, we should know that, too. Maybe she has a problem, and if so, needs help. If that is the case, she shouldn’t be on the bench wielding power over people in trouble who have a lot of personal problems, too.

If Rosenthal was done in by a single Ambien, she had a chance to show us. More importantly, the judge had an opportunity to show us the system works.

Don’t we all expect more of judges? …

Certainly, nobody deserves to be sent 
(to jail) by a troubled judge who operates above the law in his or her own life.

If Rosenthal, (Cynthia) Imperato and (Gisele) Pollack had taken those sobriety tests, and showed faith in the justice system, we would all know more about the truth and the punishment that should be meted out.

While none of the judges could operate a car safely, they were capable of making a decision: Hide the truth from the public to protect themselves. And that stinks.

CH 10 – THIS WEEK IN SOUTH FLORIDA (roundtable discussion starts at 27:40)

Michael Putney, Mike Mayo, and others on Rosenthal, Refusal, and Mug Shot Madness

BrowardBeat: Did Supremes Telegraph Penalty For Broward’s DUI Refusal Judges?

SS: Should judges who are substance abusers resign?

SS: Should judges be held to a higher standard?

SS: Howard Finkelstein on the judiciary

“While it may be just a few bad apples, or in the case of Broward judges, a few bad actions, the Broward judiciary must work hard to win back the public’s trust. Three judges have been arrested for DUI, the Judicial Qualifications Committee has determined that another current judge should lose her judgeship, a former Broward judge, who resigned in disgrace, is waiting to see if she can keep her law license, and the courthouse is holding its collective breath to see if other judges will be indicted in the Scott Rothstein scandal. We deserve better from our elected officials.”

SS: Jay Hurley profile – good news for a change

NYT: On Death Row With Low I.Q., and New Hope for a Reprieve

*FLORIDA SUPREME COURT OPINION CONCERNING DISCLOSURE OF INFORMANTS*

MANDATORY JUDGES MEETING

Peter Weinstein has called a mandatory judges meeting Wednesday at 12:15 PM, location to be determined.  We’ll post more details after receiving the email.

It’s anyone’s guess why the chief judge is reacting so slowly to the crisis.  At least two circuit judges addressed packed courtrooms this morning by noting the furor ignited by their three embattled colleagues, by acknowledging jurists are indeed held to a higher standard, and by stressing the fact eighty-seven other Broward judges continue to ably serve the public.  It’s something Weinstein should have done long before the most recent debacle, but at least there are some leaders on the bench no longer content to wait for Weinstein to step up on behalf of the judiciary he represents and community he serves. 

We’re working on the mea culpa transcripts for next week, so stay tuned …

Coming Soon
Lynn Feig-Rosenthal campaigns, others cover …

FRIDAY UPDATE

Lynn Feig-Rosenthal is back in campaign mode.  As Buddy Nevins reported today, she made an appearance last night, and another source has confirmed she’s been calling around seeking support since making bond.  No word yet on whether she’ll be on a bench Monday.

Multiple sources have also confirmed Feig-Rosenthal’s husband was indeed turned away during the time of his wife’s detention/arrest, after attempting to access her office in the Broward County Courthouse.  No further information is available as to why he needed to get in there, or whether it was BSO or a judge telling him to pound sand.

Additionally, we’ve made a public records request to BSO to get Feig-Rosenthal’s property receipt from when she was booked, and to see if anything else was removed from her car besides the box of campaign literature seen in the press.  BSO said they’d get back to us on Monday.

Lastly, one of the lawyers handling Feig-Rosenthal’s case, Carlos Canet, gave a statement this morning concerning the likelihood of JQC problems because of the refusal, following a conversation highlighting his optimism that all criminal charges will be dropped. 

As follows:

My prediction, if she appears before the JQC, they won’t take any action“. (Emphasis requested)

Regarding questions as to why she didn’t provide a urine sample, Canet stated “no comment at this time“.

Developing …

Courthouse security issue – something happened up by Randi Boven’s hearing room Thursday, involving a litigant possessing a gun.  The incident is being downplayed.  A BSO rep said it involved an off-duty officer in plain clothes who was a party to litigation, who forgot to check his gun in with security.  Apparently the gun was spotted, but stories vary wildly as to exactly what happened.  On one extreme it was drawn, and on the other it was simply seen holstered.  In any event, armed deputies had to get involved.  By the time we got there, everyone clammed up, and an un-cuffed man being escorted to the elevator was quickly ushered back inside behind locked doors due to our presence.  Today Boven said she didn’t witness the incident, and referred all other questions to Peter Weinstein.  We left a message with the chief judge, and are awaiting an explanation …

Jury Room – after speaking to Howard Forman, it seems the jury room swear-in rotation of judges is strictly a judicial issue.  But more on that later …

CHEESE!



Lynn Feig-Rosenthal consented to the release of her mug shot earlier today …

SS: Mug shot of Judge Lynn Rosenthal released


” … The Sun Sentinel and JAABlog, a website that focuses on Broward courthouse news and gossip, challenged the right of the Broward Sheriff’s Office to withhold Rosenthal’s mug shot.

“She was manipulating a law that clearly doesn’t apply to someone in her position as a public figure,” said Bill Gelin, the Fort Lauderdale attorney who runs JAABlog. “We expect more from our judges as an example of candor, forthrightness and compliance with all the laws in the spirit they were intended.”

Gelin also chided the judge for refusing to provide evidence that would show whether she had drugs in her system. Driving a car implies consent to any sobriety test required by law, he noted.

“She should have submitted a blood or urine sample to confirm her claim that this was just a mistake with her Ambien,” he said
… “

        BERTILA SOTO



Miami’s chief judge runs Florida’s largest circuit,
and
a full time division …

Imagine That!

JNC INTERVIEW SCHEDULE FRIDAY MAY 30th 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
                                    (open to the public)

COMING SOONCOURTHOUSE SECURITY SCARE THURSDAY (BOVEN)



                                Chan Lowe Sun Sentinel

STEP UP TO THE PLATE, PETE

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board has issued an editorial entitled Protect public from bad actors on Broward bench .  Click the link to read it. 

The following excerpt is from the editorial:

Everyone deserves a second chance. And like any citizen, judges accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But until their cases are decided, these judges should not remain in a position to affect people’s lives.

Chief Judge Peter Weinstein should be clear in this message to all judges. Serving on the bench is a privilege, not a right. And while suspensions create havoc with dockets, it is essential to maintain high standards at the people’s courthouse.

To be clear, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources that Weinstein has failed to date to issue any circuit-wide statements to the judiciary concerning the legal and ethical problems facing Imperato, Pollack, Rosenthal, Watson, or former chief criminal judge Gardiner.  He’s also failed to respond to our questions explaining why he won’t implement programs or training for judges to help understand the extreme stresses of deciding people’s fates, and the potential for substance abuse problems.  And Weinstein’s not said anything at all to his judges or the general public signifying “bad actors on Broward bench” will be dealt with decisively and severely, in order to both reassure the public and deter future aberrational judicial behavior.

Nobody wants Weinstein to step down.  In fact, all anybody desires, judges included, is for Weinstein to step up and demonstrate to the community the ship has a captain, and that five embattled individuals haven’t sacrificed the moral and ethical high ground the vast majority of the 17th Circuit’s judges occupy through dedication, hard work, and leading exemplary lives.  But if Weinstein can’t show at this crucial time that he possesses the desire or ability to lead, then he should step aside for someone who can, just as one of his predecessors did way back in 2007 …

Coming SoonHoward Forman on jury room campaigns; Will the chief judge support diversity on the bench?; Lynn Rosenthal’s mug shot; Who is Meredith Bush, and why?

SFT: What we Think: Rectify woeful lack of black judges

BBeat: Consultants Explain: How DUI Judge Should Handle Her Political Future

SS: Judge dealing with alcoholism asks for pay during suspension

 EVERYBODY LOVES

     THURSDAYS


BOGIE TO THE RESCUE – PETITIONS SCT TO PAY GISELE POLLACK

NBC 6 – FINKELSTEIN QUESTIONS ROSENTHAL REFUSAL

SS: FINKELSTEIN QUESTIONS AMBIEN DEFENSE

CH. 10: WEINSTEIN’S PUNT

LYNN ROSENTHAL DRIVING FOOTAGE RELEASED

COMING SOONJNC thanks Judge Rosenthal …

*UPDATE* Ian Richards
swore in the jurors Wednesday morning …

              COMING SOON



  STEP UP TO THE PLATE, PETE …

Ch 7 – Rosenthal/Weinstein “has a responsibility”

Ch. 6 – Rosenthal/Gordon Weekes

Ch 10 – Rosenthal/Weinstein “no comment”

Ch 4 – Rosenthal/Weinstein issues

SS: Rosenthal Ambien defense …

SS: Sct suspends Pollack

UPDATE
– ROSENTHAL OUT OF CRIMINAL WHILE CHARGES PENDING

              (Bidwill, Levenson & Weinstein until further notice)

    

  Amateur photo
grapher Lynn Rosenthal …

JQC/SCT BRENDA TRACY SHEEHAN DUI OPINION

MUG SHOT MADNESS

 Vote for Lynn …

(SS photo of box of campaign literature found in back of crashed BMW)


Lynn Feig-Rosenthal
is creating another campaign issue, and she may not even know it.

When in jail, Feig-Rosenthal scribbled out 119.071(5)(i)1.a, as provided by BSO earlier today, specifically precluding dissemination of the following:

For purposes of this paragraph, “identification and location information” means the:


a. Home address, telephone number, and photograph of a current or former United States attorney, assistant United States attorney, judge of the United States Courts of Appeal, United States district judge, or United States magistrate … (Emphasis Added).

Got that?

Feig-Rosenthal, a sitting judge and public figure actively distributing her own picture prominently displayed on campaign literature, objects to the less flattering mug shot being released because of a statute designed to protect the safety of current and former law enforcement officers.  It really is a stretch, putting BSO right in the middle, since they can’t violate the plain language of the statute without a court order, or a waiver from Feig-Rosenthal.

So there you have it.  We’ve got a call in to Brian Silber, the accused’s lawyer, to see if they’ll agree to release the photo.  In the meantime, an interested party could move for declaratory judgment (or some other fancy civil law term), thereby guaranteeing additional ongoing publicity for the embattled judge.

Definitely a wait and see …

(* The second page of the PDF provided by BSO has nothing to do with Feig-Rosenthal.)

AND LOOK WHAT’S WRITTEN AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FLORIDA DL:



SS: Should judges be held to a higher standard?

“(Judges) need to know their actions will be scrutinized. And if they don’t, they should be replaced.”