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.”

DUI ARREST!

*UPDATE*Coming SoonAmbien Defense?

Sources say there may have been another accident before Lynn Rosenthal got onto courthouse property.  It didn’t involve another vehicle, and there weren’t injuries, but she may not have stopped to deal with it.  Also, sources are saying the DUI arrest may have something to do with meds.  That’s being investigated. 

Rosenthal is still being processed at this time, so a mug shot won’t be available until later today …

FROM BSO:

The BSO Public Information Office is currently working a developing incident regarding a DUI Arrest located at: 201 S.E. 6 St., Ft. Lauderdale.

Public Information officer Keyla Concepcion is currently gathering the details. Here’s what we know so far:

BSO received a call shortly after 8 a.m. regarding a vehicle that struck a parked BSO unit in the parking lot of the courthouse located at 201 S.E. 6 St. The driver of the black SUV was Judge Lynn Rosenthal. Rosenthal was arrested for DUI and will be booked into the Main Jail.

This information should be considered preliminary, and as with any developing situation, the details may change.

COMING SOON
Will Weinstein answer our emails now?; Judge McLawrence? …

ACCIDENT!

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 …

FORMAN OR WEINSTEIN?

*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 …

BrowardBeat.com’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)

and

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 …