BROWARD JUDICIAL SURVEY II

It’s been a long time since the Florida Bar or Broward Bar Association (BCBA) issued a judicial poll for the 17th Circuit.  In fact, the only ones found online are 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.

So here’s the deal.  Judges have been broken up by division assignments, and rank (county or circuit).  Larger divisions, like criminal, are 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 in the future searching 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 desired.  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.

Judges rated thus far:

Ilona Holmes, Lisa Porter, Raag Singhal, Mike Rothschild & Matt Destry.

And now, currently up for consideration, it’s circuit criminal 5th floor


  Barbara McCarthy        Paul Backman              Geoff Cohen               Bernie Bober

                                       Make Your Voice Heard … Forever!

Coming SoonUnfortunately, the worst thing yet? … ; 
Everybody’s talking about Lynn Feig-Rosenthal’s smile  …

NYT: A Boy’s Execution, 70 Years Later

COURTHOUSE LOSS

 Rest In Peace

Father, musician, and lawyer Michael Holden passed away last night.  He had suffered a massive coronary, and passed peacefully in Hospice.  Scott Hecker, Michael’s friend since high school, will be providing funeral information shortly.

Thoughts and prayers …

MEMORIAL SERVICE Friday, June 20th at 4:00 PM.  Sea Lake Ranches North Condominium, 5200 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308.  954-782-5151.

HIDE AND SEEK

Bob Norman caught up with Lynn Feig-Rosenthal this week, but she isn’t answering his questions about the property receipt either.  According to the report, after spotting the camera, Feig-Rosenthal ditched into the bathroom for six minutes, only to emerge in silence, ignoring the question “What drugs did you have in your purse“.

The video is here.

Channel 10 viewers aren’t the only disappointed ones.  Feig-Rosenthal’s campaign manager also failed to impress upon his candidate the importance of clearing the air.  As promised, he called back Thursday evening, stating his client was aware of the questions, but would not answer. 

Another sad day for Broward County …

Coming SoonJAABLOG fills in the blanks: 1.) Judge, isn’t it true you had _______ on you when you were booked?; 2.) The problem in 4900 is _________ …

LA Times: L.A. pays $215,000 to settle suit by man who wore KKK hood to meeting

WEDNESDAY NOTES

Fl Bar investigates attorney after fight with judge in Brevard courtroom



That dang refusal! – people are talking about Lynn Feig-Rosenthal’s pending DUI accusation.  It’s been assigned to the Palm Beach SAO for prosecution, and is being reviewed for case filing purposes by ASAs Michael Smith  and Richard Clausi

The concern, of course, is the refusal.  Feig-Rosenthal agreed to breath testing, and blew zeroes.  However, when asked to provide a blood or urine sample, she said No.  She told police she had taken an Ambien the night before, which may have caused the erratic driving pattern.  The judge hit something on 595, then struck a police vehicle and a parking lot gate on courthouse property.  She allegedly filmed herself via smartphone, and the pc affidavit  says the video features her BMW swerving across lanes on the freeway.  There’s also supposed to be surveillance footage from the courthouse showing the accidents, although it hasn’t been made public yet.

Feig-Rosenthal is currently running for reelection, opposed by Jahra Mclawrence.  The DUI has thus become an election issue, exacerbating the normal concerns attendant to the arrest of any constitutional officer, particularly a law enforcement demigod.

The refusal has a lot of people scratching their heads.  Feig-Rosenthal is a circuit court judge, held to a higher standard of behavior.  She’s supposed to lead by example, and comply with lawful requests by police officers.  Additionally, she was assigned to the criminal division at the time of her arrest, and was known as a zero tolerance judge.  Feig-Rosenthal may not have been beloved by the defense bar, but she was respected.  And now her failure to comply with testing has caused a lot of folks to lose faith.

Additionally, the refusal has sparked discussion regarding the possibility of something else being in Feig-Rosenthal’s system besides Ambien.  Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said so publicly, on Channel 6.  And because the jail property inventory form, partially pictured above, shows she was booked with some type of MEDS in her possession, rumors around the courthouse have reached a fever pitch.

Of course, if Feig-Rosenthal had agreed to be tested by blood or urine, the entire controversy would have gone away.  But she didn’t, and because whatever MEDS she did have were not listed in the pc affidavit, they aren’t public record, and enjoy HIPAA protections.  That’s where the big black line comes from, seen above. 

The arresting officer may not have found the MEDS to be relevant to the claim of impaired driving, or he may have listed them in an event report, which is not public record at this time.  And if the case is ultimately dropped, and the MEDS only appear on the property inventory form, it’s likely they’ll always enjoy the HIPAA shield. 

And now, back to the refusal.  As previously stated, if Feig-Rosenthal hadn’t said No, the MEDS wouldn’t be of the slightest interest.  But given the refusal, the redacted MEDS entry, and the portion of the pc affidavit where Feig-Rosenthal advises she doesn’t suffer from any illnesses, it’s only natural to echo the Public Defender’s concern and ask if she was in possession of a validly prescribed controlled substance that could have led to impaired driving.  After all, Feig-Rosenthal is a circuit judge, held to a higher standard, serving the public, with more power over the average individual than the President of the United States.  She’s running for reelection, and the electorate should have all the facts before casting their vote.  Lastly, she was heading in to work, and may not have been in the proper state to sit in judgment of others.  Clearly valid concerns, and the people deserve an answer. 

The problem is, no one’s talking.

Dave Aronberg, the State Attorney handling the case, won’t comment on pending cases.  That’s what his office told us, and rightly so. 

Feig-Rosenthal’s lawyers aren’t talking either.  When asked the controlled substance question, Carlos Canet said “no comment“, while Brian Silber ignored multiple phone messages, and walked on by without acknowledging the repeated question when passed in the courthouse hallway last week.

Feig-Rosenthal, for her part, refused to answer Bob Norman’s queries as to why she refused, and still hasn’t responded to our phone message concerning the controlled substance question left on her office voice mail last week.  The second voice mail query, whether she would waive HIPAA so the public can learn just what MEDS were in her possession, also remains unanswered.

But there’s still hope.  Feig-Rosenthal’s campaign manager agreed Wednesday evening to relay the concerns again to the candidate and her lawyers, and to get back to us.  Hopefully the judge will waive HIPAA, or just flat out state the listed MEDS aren’t a controlled substance that could cause impaired driving, or a hazy morning on the bench.  It’s a question of great public importance for all the reasons listed above, and should be answered so as to alleviate all legitimate worries.  For our part, we’re optimistic Feig-Rosenthal will answer and put this controversy behind both her and the 17th Circuit in very short order, so stay tuned …

BSO v. Bob Norman – when it comes to getting under your skin, JAABLOG is small fry compared to Bob Norman.  Have you been following all the mud being slung at the courthouse’s favorite TV reporter over at The Broward Bugle?  Now WPLG 10 and the Sun Sentinel are fighting back.  Check out Bob’s recently aired reports Operative Roger Stone aims dirty tricks at Local 10 reporter, Political operative lashes out at Local 10 crew, and Sheriff-tied political committee’s first attack ad aimed at Local 10 reporter, together with a Sentinel editorial called Undue influence at Broward Sheriff’s Office? #Ha.  All in a day’s work for the intrepid Norman, who’s learning everybody must get Stoned …

Scapegoated!
– last week’s mandatory judges’ meeting taught us a valuable lesson.  JAABLOG needs to start paying attention to the civil side of the courthouse STAT.  It’s been woefully neglected, and in dire need of a good old fashioned e-enema too.  But please remember, the Anonymous Tips box stopped working a long time ago, so send any tips and leads via email.  Anonymity is 100% guaranteed, but if you’re still worried, just create a dummy email account and send away

Coming Soon – What did he ask Nick Lopane?; The judges didn’t know there was a new jury room list either? …

Trick Daddy Retains Andy Smallman

BrowardBulldog: Don Middlebrooks speaks up for Barry Cohen against JQC

SS: Stuart Rosenfeldt pleads guilty to conspiracy

Daily Mail: Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Florida You Judge: WPB judge says “I’m Going to Happy Hour”

Tampa Bay Times: Bumper stickers prompt charges against critic of Pinellas judge

JNC ADD 4

The JNC added four names to the list for consideration by Rick Scott to replace Ed Merrigan and Joe Murphy: Kal Le Var Evans, Dan Kanner, Stefanie Moon, and Vicki Plant.

The previously submitted names, also still under consideration: Keathan Frink, Thomas Oates, Abbe Rifkin, Richard Sachs, Maxine Streeter, Steve Zaccor.

Today’s JNC letter after the first six names went up regarding a forthcoming request for more JNC nominees from Tallahassee.  Rumor had it they wanted Dan Kanner’s application too.  In fact, we even mentioned the rumor to the ever modest Dan early last week, before news broke that Scott indeed was seeking more names to choose from.  Kanner was gracious in his response, which was made off the cuff and not on the record, so it won’t be printed here.

And now it’s up to Rick Scott whether or not Broward gets more diversity on the bench.  Peter Weinstein may also play a role, given he was copied on the JNC letter, and the fact chief judges are often used as sounding boards before the final picks are announced.

Wait and see …

                        (Thanks to Contributor)

BBeat: Jury Room Campaign Advantage Canceled For Judges

BBeat: Feig-Rosenthal Puts $20k Into Campaign Since DUI Bust

*CORRECTION*

*UPDATE*– the jury room manager just confirmed all of the information below is accurate, while adding in no uncertain terms judicial administration’s Jack Tuter and Clerk of Courts Howard Forman deserve the credit for the revised May 28th list, which deleted Rosenthal, Richards, and Feren from the rotation.  Well done!

If only judicial administration would let us know these things in advance …
—————————————————————————————————————

The post entitled Switcheroo! under Sunday Notes, from June 8th, 2014 at 9:30 PM is ALL WRONG.  All apologies for the confusion, which is apparently shared by some judges as well as JAABLOG.

According to the jury room, the first picture of the Sunday Notes post, seen directly below, is the revised, current list of judges who will be handling the jury-room swearing-in ceremonies, starting June 30th.  It supercedes the list underneath it showing Lynn Rosenthal, Ian Richards, and Steve Feren working the jury room from 6/30/14 – 8/20/14.  The challenged three were indeed scheduled (as seen in picture #2), but after Buddy Nevins and JAABLOG blogged about the inherent unfairness of it all, the list was revised May 28th, which is picture #1, showing Jay Hurley from 6/30-7/1,2, followed by Ehrlich, Levenson, Lee, Pole, Diaz, Miranda, and Gates.  The third picture below, directly underneath picture #2 showing Rosenthal, Richards, and Feren, is part of the same old list seen in #2, which was trumped by the revised May 28th list seen in picture #1.

Got that?

The jury room relates they’ve already been assured by some regularly scheduled judges that they definitely will be there for their turn at bat.  And despite Ian Richards working the jury room this week, it seems the practice of challenged judges leading the swearing-in ceremonies should hopefully be kaput starting June 30th. 

There’s still a lot of confusion out there as to which list is in place.  Hopefully this post clarifies things, based on a conversation with the jury room manager a few minutes ago.  While no corrections were called for after the Sunday Notes post, our follow-up today turned up the correct information.

And now for the apology.

Whether it was judicial administration, the individual judges, or Howard Forman that took action to correct the practice of what has been called jury-room campaigning, they are owed a debt of gratitude.  Our comments were wrong, because despite a long litany of recent shortcomings in leadership, this problem appears to have been fixed after public criticism via JAABLOG and Browardbeat.com.  It takes courage to admit and correct a mistake, and although no individual will take responsibility for allowing the practice in the first place, or credit for fixing things in the end, EVERYONE responsible should be thanked for doing the right thing. 

Apologies to everyone for our mistake, and props to all concerned for some solid leadership in a Circuit that really, really needs it …

SUNDAY NOTES

*UPDATE*- the jury room manager just confirmed all of the information below is accurate, while adding in no uncertain terms judicial administration’s Jack Tuter and Clerk of Courts Howard Forman deserve the credit for the revised May 28th list, which deleted Rosenthal, Richards, and Feren from the rotation.  Well done!

If only judicial administration would let us know these things in advance …
——————————————————————————————————-


*CORRECTION* (published June 10, 2014 at 11:20 AM)


The post entitled Switcheroo! under Sunday Notes, from June 8th, 2014 at 9:30 PM is ALL WRONG.  All apologies for the confusion, which is apparently shared by some judges as well as JAABLOG.

According to the jury room, the first picture of the Sunday Notes post, seen directly below, is the revised, current list of judges who will be handling the jury-room swearing-in ceremonies, starting June 30th.  It supercedes the list underneath it showing Lynn Rosenthal, Ian Richards, and Steve Feren working the jury room from 6/30/14 – 8/20/14.  The challenged three were indeed scheduled (as seen in picture #2), but after Buddy Nevins and JAABLOG blogged about the inherent unfairness of it all, the list was revised May 28th, which is picture #1, showing Jay Hurley from 6/30-7/1,2, followed by Ehrlich, Levenson, Lee, Pole, Diaz, Miranda, and Gates.  The third picture below, directly underneath picture #2 showing Rosenthal, Richards, and Feren, is part of the same old list seen in #2, which was trumped by the revised May 28th list seen in picture #1.

Got that?

The jury room relates they’ve already been assured by some regularly scheduled judges that they definitely will be there for their turn at bat.  And despite Ian Richards working the jury room this week, it seems the practice of challenged judges leading the swearing-in ceremonies should hopefully be kaput starting June 30th. 

There’s still a lot of confusion out there as to which list is in place.  Hopefully this post clarifies things, based on a conversation with the jury room manager a few minutes ago.  While no corrections were called for after the Sunday Notes post, our follow-up today turned up the correct information.

And now for the apology.

Whether it was judicial administration, the individual judges, or Howard Forman that took action to correct the practice of what has been called jury-room campaigning, they are owed a debt of gratitude.  Our comments were wrong, because despite a long litany of recent shortcomings in leadership, this problem appears to have been fixed after public criticism via JAABLOG and Browardbeat.com.  It takes courage to admit and correct a mistake, and although no individual will take responsibility for allowing the practice in the first place, or credit for fixing things in the end, EVERYONE responsible should be thanked for doing the right thing. 

Apologies to everyone for our mistake, and props to all concerned for some solid leadership in a Circuit that really, really needs it …

THE ORIGINAL POST: (COMMENTS BASED ON INACCURATE INFORMATION DELETED)


 These guys got bumped,
 so these guys could campaign at the courthouse,
 until the week of the election!

Switcheroo! You didn’t have to attend  last week’s mandatory judges’ meeting to realize JAABLOG is really shaking judicial administration’s cage. 

After speaking with Howard Forman a week or two ago, it became apparent judges decide amongst themselves who will swear-in thousands of prospective jurors on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.  It’s basically split up between ten volunteers who can be counted on to be at work by 8:00 AM either by habit or residential proximity (add Fred Horowitz and Raag Singhal to the names above), and scheduled through the end of the year.  The only way for campaigning judges to get in the jury room is to ask permission from one of the scheduled ten.

But not anymore.

As you can see in the three pictures above, the most recent list provided by the jury room (the top picture) has been changed, to add three challenged judges who have been making regular jury room appearances since qualifying ended.  It turns out they had simply been getting permission from one of the regularly scheduled judges to cover, which means those making way could potentially be accused of aiding the judicial reelection campaigns of their colleagues.  In fact, after speaking with two judges on the list concerning this very topic, one of them returned to his regular jury room duties the very same week!

But that’s all over now.  Broward’s beloved 17th Circuit judiciary has once again shown its true colors on a matter of great public importance, namely the appearance of its own political invulnerability and inability to back down in the face of legitimate criticism.  Despite Lynn Rosenthal, Ian Richards, and Steve Feren not being on the list before the election, they are now, thereby relieving the regularly scheduled judges of any Canonical concerns.  As stated in a previous post, it’s really a shame, and transparently unfair to all those hoping for an election on the merits.  But this being Broward, what
else would anyone expect?

Coming SoonIs Rick Scott looking for more minority names, or just Dan Kanner’s?; Got Civility? Mike Usan sends a message … ; Get away from me, Bill!; Dave Aronberg, Scott Israel, & Lynn Rosenthal; My father walked with Dr. King; DISMANTLE CANNABIS COURT (Do it in Division!); Attorney Blogger Haydee Oropesa, Voice of Reason West, already shaking things up

DBR: Governor and Eugene Pettis want JNC to send more names

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Florida judiciary needs more diversity

Good Morning America (ABC) – “JUDGE DISBARRED FOR DATING PROSECUTOR”

SS: Imperato’s DUI woes add to death penalty sentencing delays

KeysInfoNet – Insult to Injury: Broward ASA Mike Jones wants to replace David Audlin

SS: Supreme Court says “no way” to request for Pollack payday

NBC 6 Video – Jay Hurley’s reputation growing nationally …

Tampa Ch 10 Video – Fl Bar attorney DUI setup case

1941 MBZ 540K for sale …

NYT: RIP Alexander Shulgin, modern day father of MDMA

LA Times: All Aboard for more lawsuits over California high speed rail

LA Times: Malibu phone app tips users to public beach access by stars’ homes

LA Times: Court-imposed fees, costs, and fines fuels race and class inequality

DISBARRED!

 Finally …

BAR v. GARDINER

Justice trumps politics – The Supreme Court has the final word, sending a message of hope to the beleaguered 17th Circuit.  Pray it isn’t lost on all those who aided and abetted her vile ways, or ignored their oaths by turning a blind eye as she made a mockery of all that’s good and decent in the criminal justice system …

Room Full of Mirrors
   -Jimi Hendrix

I used to live in a room full of mirrors,
All I could see was me,
Well I take my spirit and I crash my mirrors,
Now the whole world is here for me to see,
I said the whole world is here for me to see,
Now I’m searchin’ for my love to be,
Hey!!

Broken glass was all in my brain,
Cuttin’ screamin’ crying in my head,
Broken glass was all in my brain,
It used to fall on my dreams and cut me in my bed,
It used to fall on my dreams and cut me in my bed,
I said makin’ love was strange in my bed,
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!!

Coming Soon Rosenthal, Rosenthal, Rosenthal; SHOOT THE MESSENGER!

JAABLOG Hypotheticals  (2008)

Bob Norman – Gardiner disbarred for lying about relationship with prosecutor

SS: Gardiner disbarred

Rumpole on the Rogues Gallery

BBeat: Judges Meeting On Scandal Accomplish Little

TEN QUESTIONS

There are many questions the judges should be asking Peter Weinstein during Wednesday’s mandatory meeting, in addition to the following ten:

1.) Why did you fail to stay ahead of the media crisis, how can we be assured you can handle the next one, and what are your plans to restore public confidence and our image?

2.) Have you been contacted by anyone from a higher court because of the arrests, and what are they saying?

3.) What safeguards will be put into place to ensure we won’t be publicly humiliated or compromised by another colleague struggling with an ethical quandary or drugs and alcohol?

4.) Which judges are your closest advisers, and is there room at the table for additional voices?

5.) Why are you seeking a third term as chief judge, and what do you hope to accomplish?

6.) What have you done to encourage diversity on the bench over the last four years?

7.) Why hasn’t a rotation plan been implemented to ensure a cross-trained judiciary that can efficiently handle a more evenly distributed workload?

8.) Why are lazy judges tolerated, and why aren’t hard working judges rewarded?

9.) Why can’t you handle a division, or at the very least, temporarily take over a vacant one instead of using so many senior, unelected judges?

10.) Who is responsible for the new building design flaws, and did you see the problems coming as the judicial representative on the New Courthouse Task Force  under Vic Tobin?

                BE THERE OR BE SQUARE – ROOM 840 @ 12:15 PM



Coming Soon
– Meet Blog Collaborator #1; Lynn Feig-Rosenthal’s REDACTED jail property receipt …



    
Bob Norman Video – Feig-Rosenthal back at work

COFFEE TALK WITH RICKY POLSTON

  Today’s guest: Chief Justice Polston!

DISCUSS: WHY DON’T CIVILITY PANELS APPLY TO JUDGES AS WELL AS LAWYERS, WHEN THE JUDICIARY ALSO BEARS RESPONSIBILITY FOR TARNISHING THE LEGAL PROFESSION?

Got Civility? 
The relatively new professionalism panels are a good idea.  It’s mediation and dispute resolution before problems rise to the level of formal complaints, or reach the point of no return.  But since they don’t apply to judges, it seems like the judiciary is once again dodging the issues by picking on lawyers and failing to accept even the slightest responsibility for their role in the steep decline of professionalism in the legal world.  Whether fist fighting  staff during court, putting public safety at risk by driving drunk, refusing to comply with sobriety testing, failing to come forward with a man on death row after a deeply tainted trial, or lying throughout official proceedings, Florida’s lawyers certainly don’t always have the best role models when it comes to how to behave.

So how about it?  Should civility panels apply to judges too?  Should the Supreme Court order professionalism training for all judges?  Or is the problem unfixable?

“TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES”

FL Bar News: Professionalism enforcement program in place for S. Florida

17th Circuit Professionalism Panel AO

MEMBERS: Chair: Kenneth J. Joyce, Esq., W. George Allen, Esq., Juan Arias, Esq., Miette Burnstein, Retired Broward Circuit Judge, William R. Clayton, Esq., Benjamin R. Dishowitz, Esq., Andrea Gunderson, Esq., Marissa Kelly, Esq., Edward J. Marko, Esq., Stephanie Moon, Esq., Charles Morehead, III, Esq., Robert Saunooke, Esq., Stacy Schwartz, Esq., Maxine, Streeter, Esq., Bruce Weihe, Esq.

17th Circuit Professionalism Panel Referral Form

11th Circuit AO

Tallahassee Democrat: Chief justice Ricky Polston applies for FSU job

Coming Soon
– Ten questions judges need to ask Peter Weinstein Wednesday, June 4th at 12:15 PM in Room 840