Peter Weinstein and David Audlin broke their respective silences last Friday, but neither one had anything interesting to say. There are a lot of topics Weinstein should be addressing the community about, so it’s anyone’s guess why the leader of the 17th Circuit would make himself available to talk toilets, while remaining mum on problems like substance abuse, diversity, safe staff parking, and lazy judges. The Sun Sentinel’s article is here.
As for Audlin, he confirmed he resigned from the Monroe County circuit court because of JAABLOG. The Miami Herald’s article is here. We’ll be addressing his statements shortly, but in the meantime, please post a comment if you agree with Audlin that he’s a victim, or if outside pressure was indeed brought to bear, a quitter who should have stood up and fought for what he believes in. It’s not hard to tell which way we’re heading, so drop a comment if you think we’re missing something …
Coming Soon – Antonacci said what?; County court applicant names; The American All You Can Eat Buffet Restaurant Association joins “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot” campaign.
PB Post: Kastrenakes slaps atty with $6,000 sanction for missing letter in DUI
Today’s lunch time sojourn yielded 22 empty courtrooms and 14 courtrooms in use out of 36 checked in the old courthouse between 1:40 PM and 1:55 PM. Of the courtrooms in use or about to be used, 3 were staffed by senior judges, and one was staffed by a circuit juvenile delinquency judge. As always, North Wing courtrooms were not checked, since everyone knows the Broward prison machine is nearly always running full steam. Satellite courtrooms were likewise not checked, although it’s a safe bet another bonanza of inefficiently managed resources and personnel would have been discovered if North, South, and West were monitored.
Even allowing for the slight possibility that a few of the desolate courtrooms might have been scheduled for late starts, the fact that only 14 out of 36 courtrooms were in use during peak hours on a Wednesday afternoon speaks volumes. Critics are quick to point out that Peter Weinstein can’t physically stop his judges from behaving badly, but no one will argue that his administration wouldn’t last a day in the private sector with so many tax dollars going up in flames on a daily basis. Once again it’s a leadership problem, and based on the 17th Circuit’s most recent request to the Supreme Court for 6 additional county judges, don’t expect anything to change soon …
(Drop an email if you’d like to know individual courtrooms and their occupancy status)
SS: Broward prosecutor arrested on meth charge
Coming Soon – Is your juice box empty?
Coming Soon to Broward?:
KPBS: Judicial Candidate Accuses Judge Of Being A Criminal On Billboards
(San Diego – 5/8/14)
“Keehn, a former U.S. Army captain, has put a stark message on billboards above four intersections along Interstate-5 and downtown: “Vote for Carla Keehn . . . the only candidate for this office not convicted of a crime.”
According to court records, (Judge) Schall was charged in October 2007 with a DUI, but pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless-driving charge six months later …
Osceola judge criticized for offering bibles to defendants
The SAO’s Drug Trafficking Unit just dismissed the Sunrise case against Blake Larocca. Obviously, they chose to drop a major cocaine haul instead of complying with Bernie Bober’s order to disclose the CI responsible for luring many suspects into Sunrise’s jurisdiction. What this means for other cases remains to be seen, but congrats are now in order to Kevin Kulik, Eddie Kay, and Mickey Rocque, who first exposed Sunrise’s shenanigans right here on JAABLOG many moons ago …
SS: Prosecutors drop drug charges to protect Sunrise police informant
ASA busted for drug possession … Cost: $25 for BCBA, Caribbean Bar and TJ Reddick Members;$40 for Non-members; Panel Discussion: A panel discussion geared at demystifying the Judicial Nominating process. Speakers from the Governor’s office, the JNCs and the Judiciary will provide an overview of the Judicial Nominating process from application to appointment by the Governor, including the mechanics of the Judicial Nominating process and “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to be a successful applicant. Meet the Panelists: Peter Antonacci – General Counsel for Governor Rick Scott Ken Gillespie, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge Stacy Ross, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge Raag Singhal, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge Jamie Finizio Bascombe Esq., Judicial Nominating Commission Member.
In Peter Weinstein’s courthouse, you don’t have to be a judge to get arrested on substance abuse related charges. Following the DUI arrests of Cindy Imperato and Gisele Pollack, ASA Molena Mompoint was busted Monday night, accused of Possession of Methamphetamine.
Another sad day for the Broward legal community, and most importantly, the community we serve. And still nothing from the chief judge, the captain of the ship. Quite the opposite, in fact, since Weinstein has taken to issuing statements through a spokesperson, as he did on the occasion of Pollack’s car crash with injuries. Not very reassuring, even to a citizenry used to a justice system that’s the laughing stock of the state.
Let’s face it. Weinstein didn’t create the culture of permissiveness, hypocrisy and double standards that permeates the courthouse elite. And he can’t control everyone wearing a robe or a badge. But after four years at the helm, one thing is certain: Weinstein is either incapable or unwilling to take necessary steps to lead the 17th Circuit to a place of respectability and dignity in a county bruised by decades of corruption and corresponding public distrust of its legal system. And with the Rothstein, Gardiner, and Watson matters threatening to further darken the clouds over the courthouse, things can only get worse.
It’s time for a change. Not mushy public platitudes while backroom deals are cut concerning the chief judgeship in 2017, but honest to goodness, old-fashioned leadership. Someone must come forward from within the ranks of the judiciary to remind the public that the vast majority of Broward lawyers and judges are hard working, capable individuals. Someone who isn’t afraid to break a few eggs or lose a few votes, and set a good example by handling a docket at the same time.
For instance, courthouse counseling and substance abuse training must be set up, and ethics seminars too, where judges and lawyers can establish dialogues. Transparency must replace secrecy. Lazy judges must be taken to task, and the wholesale use of unelected, senior judges running entire divisions must be eliminated. Troubled or obstinate judges must be dealt with decisively before they become public embarrassments, or dangers to themselves and innocent bystanders. Regular rotation of judicial assignments must be implemented to reverse stagnation and burn-out, and to ensure an even distribution of the most talented jurists in every sphere of the legal system, as the electorate would expect when casting their votes or going to court. And most importantly, a strong message must be sent not only to the public and judges, but to lawyers young and old that everyone will be held accountable to the highest standards of professionalism, or face stern consequences. The perception that anything goes once becoming a Broward judge, that you will be protected by judicial administration and your colleagues come hell or high water after donning a robe, must be quashed forever, if only lawyers of the highest integrity and character are to be attracted to the 17th Circuit bench.
So how about it, judges? Is there a leader in the ranks? Doesn’t Broward deserve better?
Coming Soon – Resigning Women …
SS: Broward schools chief apologizes for underling’s Bible blunder
Peter Antonacci, Rick Scott’s judicial diversity czar …
Pathways to the Bench:
A Panel Discussion on the Judicial Nominating Process & Networking Reception
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Panel Discussion; 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Networking Reception (light appetizers and wine)
Venue: Broward County Bar Association-1051 S.E. 3rd Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale
No cost to BCBA Judiciary
Vice Chair and Chair (two terms)
Presented by the Broward County Bar Association,
Caribbean Bar Association, and TJ Reddick
Cost: $25 for BCBA, Caribbean Bar and TJ Reddick Members;$40 for Non-members;
Panel Discussion: A panel discussion geared at demystifying the Judicial Nominating process. Speakers from the Governor’s office, the JNCs and the Judiciary will provide an overview of the Judicial Nominating process from application to appointment by the Governor, including the mechanics of the Judicial Nominating process and “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to be a successful applicant.
Meet the Panelists:
Peter Antonacci – General Counsel for Governor Rick Scott
Ken Gillespie, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge
Stacy Ross, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge
Raag Singhal, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge
Jamie Finizio Bascombe Esq., Judicial Nominating Commission Member.
GISELE POLLACK PC AFFIDAVIT
Allegations: a refusal, with “numerous alcoholic beverages in the trunk” and a spilled cup up front. She said she was coming from Gainesville. There was an accident, with the other driver knocked unconscious, eventually transported to the hospital with a neck injury after waking up on scene …
From the Sun Sentinel website:
Don’t Miss These
Still 17 minutes to go …
Florida Division of Elections
*UPDATE* – 12:20 PM. It seems congratulations are due to all the unopposed reelected incumbents, while best wishes go out to everyone running for open seats, in addition to incumbents and their challengers, namely Ellen Feld, Mark Rickard, Jahra McLawrence, Lynn Rosenthal, John Contini, Steve Feren, Ian Richards, Jonathan Kasen, and Claudia Robinson.
May the most entertaining candidates win!
BBeat: Judge Steve Feren Gets Last Minute Opponent
Gisele Pollack has been arrested and accused of DUI. She already bonded out, so no picture is available at this time. The clerk’s entry is here.
Very, very sad …
UPDATE – The Sun Sentinel has picked up the story. Their article is here, with mugshot.
Quote from the Sentinel, concerning Peter Weinstein:
“Everyone is concerned for Pollack’s well-being and welfare,” said attorney Bill Gelin, whose courthouse blog was first to report on the DUI arrest. “Some of us are also questioning the leadership of the chief judge in putting her back on the stressful and high pressure criminal bench in January when everyone knew there was a real problem brewing.”
Eric Schwartzreich reports he’ll be representing Gisele on the DUI charges. In other news, Kevin Kulik has signed onto Jahra McLawrence’s campaign as co-treasurer …
The Administrative Order Assigning Judges everyone has been waiting for went out during lunchtime today. It should post online this afternoon.
Liz Scherer has landed in Cindy Imperato’s old FJ spot, currently occupied by Barry Stone. Ed Merrigan is going to Liz’s spot in Dependency. County Criminal Merrigan MB is “vacant pending appointment“. Sandy Perlman is going to O’Connor’s 04 Civil Division, and Imperato is running Foreclosures. Nothing else seems to jump out, although we could be missing something.
It looks like the seniority system is alive and well …
*UPDATE* – Admin. Order 2014-18-Gen
1.) Kevin Kulik and Eddie Kay, a couple weeks back; 2.) Mark Polen, the latest recruit to Weinstein’s senior judge army, now handling foreclosures.
Barry Cohen, Live! – be sure to tune in Tuesday at 9:00 AM to see Barry Cohen’s public spanking, live from Tallahassee. His crime? In large part telling the truth about the failed Drug War, as you can see from the JQC’s Notice of Formal Charges. This tongue lashing might be interesting though, since many of the justices probably agree with some of what Cohen had to say regarding racial disparity in the system, although they’d never make the mistake of admitting it in a public courtroom. Lesson learned …
The Un-replaceable – no one can replace Joe Murphy, but the JNC is going to try. Here is the notice, with a May 12 deadline for applications. Now the JNC has two chances to show what they’re made of, with the May 5 cutoff to apply for Ed Merrigan’s spot on the county court also just around the corner.
Speaking of the Colonel … his ears must be ringing. Whether or not Merrigan would accept his party’s nomination for chief judge remains to be seen, but there most definitely is a Draft Ed movement brewing …
End of an error – Eileen O’Connor’s last day is this Wednesday. Well done!
Coming Soon – Following-up on President Pettis’ letter; Pay your own filing fee, you cheap *%#$!
BBeat: Judges Nervous as Filing Opens For Bench
JQC response to Watson’s Stay request
SS: Laura Watson fights JQC for her job
Bob Norman at Scott Israel’s Bergeron bash
OTHER VOICES OTHER VOICES:
Voice of Reason, West
“Promoting Judicial Excellence“ – blogging fever is spreading, and Haydee Oropesa may have caught it after coming to JAABLOG’s defense last June. The Clearwater based attorney recently started the Florida You Judge blog, a great read, even after taking out the nice things she wrote about us. Check it out, and don’t miss the post about Beth Harlan, who recently quit the Polk County circuit court to avoid criminal charges. Of course Harlan’s judicial assistant wasn’t so lucky, suffering a first offense felony conviction, jail time, and probation for her role in the same hijinks that only cost Harlan her job. Apparently Broward isn’t the exclusive home of egregious double standards of justice, and now that brave lawyers like Haydee are doing their best to spread the word, everyone in the State should eventually know it. Thank you again, Haydee!
51st Anniversary …
Mike Rothschild writes:
Fifty-one years ago, today, April 29th 1963, the United States Supreme Court entered its landmark ruling regarding desegregation in Johnson v. Virginia. I know you constitutional scholars are scratching your heads wondering why I am referencing this as a landmark case when Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, sixty years ago, and which eliminated the notion of “separate but equal.” But, Johnson v. Virginia is important because it eliminated desegregation in a very important public venue: the courtroom!
That’s right, even nine years after Brown v. Board of Education the United States Supreme Court, in a 9-0 opinion, was forced by the State of Virginia to rule that desegregation applied in the courthouse. Even though in 1938 the Court ruled that desegregation was not permitted in admission to law schools (Missouri ex el Gaines v. Canada); the very place where due process is guaranteed, where equal protection most applies was among the last places where racial discrimination should have been permitted, or so the State of Virginia believed.
Things certainly have come a long way in fifty-one years…or have they? With current controversies involving Donald Sterling and the NBA, or rancher Cliven Bundy’s statements, or closer to home with the Florida Bar’s call for diversity on the bench and this very Blog’s constant statistical analysis o
f the incarceration rates of Blacks, has this issue ever really gone away?
David Audlin, Esquire
Things have gotten mighty hot around here. So hot, in fact, that a little more than three months after posting Let’s Get Sweaty!, the former chief judge of Monroe County is resigning from the circuit court, with four years left on his term. The Key West article that broke the story Friday is here, and a bit more detailed story appeared Saturday. Both articles simply state that David Audlin will be returning to private practice May 9th, and that he enjoyed his time as a judge.
Did JAABLOG light the fuse that took Audlin off the bench? And is it only a coincidence that he stopped being chief judge of the 16th Circuit sometime after Let’s Get Sweaty! went up? Or were these purely personal decisions by Audlin and his family?
The timing does seem suspect though, leading any reasonable person to conclude something unseemly is afoot. For while there’s no question that the judge’s public Manhunt postings created an appearance of impropriety, it would be darn near criminal for this very human transgression to cost a man his job in any day and age, especially in light of all the good old-fashioned lying and cheating and racism going on which everyone tries their best to ignore.
Let’s just hope we’re wrong, or that there’s something more to it than meets the eye …
Coming Soon – Barry Cohen, Live!