JAABLOG Returns Shortly – mainstream media is working on all kinds of fun things for later in the week, so we’re taking the night off …

Coming SoonAlcee Hastings goes off!; County candidates interview Thursday in Orlando; Joe Murphy’s last day; Laura Watson gains some ground; Patti Henning, witness; Meet Rob Crispin

SS: Deputy fired after friend uses patrol-car speaker to heckle public

Wa. Post: A ‘new anti-Semitism’ rising in France

FIU Florida’s most selective law school

LA Times: ‘Jer$ey Boys’ has been a windfall for all involved

LA Times: Supreme Court gives public workers 1st Amendment shield

Hwood Rprtr: Smokey Robinson cites Constitution in Fight With Ex Over Song Rights

BBeat: Why Dennis Bailey’s Net Worth Is Only $25k


McLawrence/Rosenthal endorsementsFOP and Lori Parrish have endorsed Jahra McLawrence, while the PBA gave its support to Lynn Feig-Rosenthal before the DUI arrest, and without interviewing McLawrence first …

Don’t take my wife, please  – David Bogenschutz has filed motions to push back the effective date of Gardiner’s disbarment, in order to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.  The filings are seen here.  Thanks to hohoho for the tip.  We’ll be sure to get those motions posted online soon.

Fun with judicial apps – which of the following individuals does not appear on Gardiner’s 1998 judicial application, recommending a ten year lawyer with one jury trial for the circuit court of Broward County?

1.) Dale Ross; 2.) Howard Zeidwig; 3.) Patty Cocalis; 4.) Charlie Greene; 5.) Ray Ferrero, Jr.;
6.) Lynn Futch; 7.) Hugh Maloney; 8.) Ed Benton; 9.) Andrew Leinoff;
10.) David Bogenschutz; 11.) Alfred E. Neuman.

Answer: #11.

Unfortunately, the letters of recommendation themselves aren’t in the State Archives of Florida, but we’re still digging …

Thank you, New Times – it’s always nice being compared to Socrates , although some judicial types probably employ less flattering terms when discussing JAABLOG

Coming SoonMy JA got a raise, did yours?; Hey Rick Scott – why did you stop posting applications of lawyers under consideration for the bench online? …

SS: Court revives psychologist’s lawsuit against Broward Public Defender’s Office

NYT: Slip Slidin’ Away

NYT: RIP Gerry Goffin


*UPDATE*Slaton told KeysInfoNet, describing hallucinations like “Fantasia and the dancing brooms” …

According to Key West Citizen, Slaton has flatly denied a rumor in the legal community that he suffers from a drinking problem.  That article is found here

Whatever his health issues may be, Slaton certainly seems like a colorful character, who may want to compare notes with Lynn Feig-Rosenthal on her own recent Ambien mishap.  Who knows, they could prepare a joint presentation for judicial college regarding the woes of sleep aides, assuming both are reelected …

Brannon v. Finkelstein update – we’re told the 11th Circuit appeals court has relieved Howard Finkelstein of any personal liability in the lawsuit filed by Michael Brannon, while preserving a jury question as to whether or not Brannon was punished because of his Cheryl Aleman JQC testimony, or cut back because of budget issues and alleged hostile actions against the Public Defender.  Does a trial loom?  Stay tuned

LA Times: Barry Scheck on the O.J. trial, DNA evidence and the Innocence Project


Will the Sun Sentinel endorse McLawrence? – that question would have been easy to answer before Lynn Feig-Rosenthal crashed her car, got arrested, refused drug testing, played games with her mug shot, refused to comment on whether the property receipt MEDS could have contributed to her erratic behavior, and failed to assure the community she’s ok to decide peoples’ fates while the DUI accusation is pending by answering good questions like the ones posed by the Sentinel Tuesday.  But now that a character issue has helped define the race for circuit court Group 8, the normally incumbent-loving Sentinel may be set to break with tradition and endorse the underdog.  Don’t believe it?  Check out Tuesday’s article here, following the editorial board’s meet and greet with the candidates, and featuring the following quote by Jahra McLawrence:

(W)hatever happened, she was about to take the bench, and she was about to rule on other people’s lives in that condition.

Rumor has it McLawrence may have already picked up some other key endorsements, so stay tuned …

And the Judicial MVP Award goes too … senior judge Fred Berman, for carrying two county court criminal divisions, and getting ready to pick up a third, on, get this, a part-time basis.  And that’s not all.  He’s whittled down Mary Robinson’s division to a few hundred cases, to the point we’re told Court Administration is getting ready to eliminate Division MM once and for all. 

Quite a feat, but hardly a surprise to anyone familiar with Peter Weinstein’s woefully inefficient county criminal courts.  While there are many hard working and ambitious judges serving in the people’s court, everyone knows there are others who are anything but.  It’s just a shame a veteran judge had to get sick for Berman to prove the point beyond a doubt.  And if Weinstein would name a new Chief for county criminal to ensure an evenly distributed and efficiently managed workload, maybe he could withdraw this request for SIX new $134,000 a year county judges for Fiscal Year 2014/2015.  They’re your tax dollars, after all …

Speaking of Mary – is she returning soon?  That was the question lodged with Meredith Brooks, communication specialist for the 17th Circuit.  She’s promised to ask Weinstein, who’s out of town for a few days.  Wait and see …

Thanks, Fred!Fred Horowitz hasn’t begged off his jury room responsibilities, thus far appearing every day this week as scheduled.  No one can accuse him of aiding a fellow judge’s reelection campaign, that’s for sure.  He’s in there again Wednesday, with Jeff Levenson on deck for next week.  Well done!

Daubert primer
Ira Still lays it all out in the most recent LA Times: Cable TV boxes become 2nd biggest energy users in many homes

Mental Illness, The Florida Bar & You

NYT: In a .338 Lifetime Average, Every Day Counted


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


 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.


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


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 …

– 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


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


*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  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 …