The JNC doesn’t care.  Governors don’t either.

There are still only six Black judges amongst Broward’s ninety-one jurists, despite the fact the county is categorized roughly 30% Black in the most recent census data online.  And after this week’s JNC submission to Governor Scott, it doesn’t seem things will be getting better anytime soon.

So here’s the thing.  Qualified Black lawyers need to start applying with Chief Judge Peter Weinstein for General Magistrate positions.  These slots are a proven pathway to the bench, and GM’s hold as many or more hearings with the public than some judges.  Weinstein has nearly unbridled discretion who to appoint, and can do more than almost anyone to ensure Black people are at least represented on the lowest rung of the judicial ladder, with great opportunity for advancement.

There’s currently a GM position available, because of Rita Berry’s impending retirement.  The problem is Weinstein has opened the position up only to “qualified Court Administration staff“, fueling speculation he plans to hand it off to Alexandra Rieman,* the current General Counsel for Court Administration.  She’s one of roughly twenty-four attorneys employed throughout Court Administration, so it’s a pretty small pool of individuals with the credentials to even consider applying, let alone go through the trouble of filling out an application.  Of that number, there are only a few Black attorneys.

Diana Sobel, Chief of Personnel, told us she was directed by Kathy Pugh, the Court Administrator, to make this an “internal announcement” only.  Sobel also stated the GM slots are usually open to the legal community, and that a closed posting is “rare“.  Additionally, of the six jobs posted in Human Resources today, the GM slot is the only one not open to the public, despite carrying the most responsibility.

There is hope, however.  Sobel said Weinstein could easily open this up to the general public, and extend the December 11th, 5:00 PM deadline, if he chooses to do so.  It’s happened before, in situations where there weren’t qualified people to choose from.  Given Weinstein’s pro-diversity statements in the past, the importance of a diverse bench reflecting the community it serves, and the criticisms directed at the Chief Judge that he likes to take care of his friends, together with the current lack of a Black GM, ** Weinstein should open this position up immediately, and extend the deadline to apply.

Toward that goal, Ruby Green, President of TJ Reddick Bar Association, confirmed she has left a request to speak with Weinstein.

From Ruby:

It makes sense, considering everything that has happened in the past with the appointment process, that we need to step it up and open the local pathway to the bench to qualified applicants of all backgrounds.

And from Howard Finkelstein:

This is nothing more than good old boy, same old same old, and it’s how Broward has gotten to be so lacking in diversity, and why our criminal justice system is so skewed.  It should always be open to the public, because the pathway to the bench should be for the best and brightest of all ethnicities, and not just for your friends or supporters who you may owe a favor.

So there you have it.  Everyone should call Weinstein’s office at 954-831-5506 to ask for the GM position and application deadline to be opened and extended.  Additionally, Black lawyers are urged to fill out the application, and send it in as soon as possible.  Who knows, like former General Magistrate Michael Robinson, you just may end up on the circuit court …

We’ll update if Weinstein returns calls …

* Rieman and Pugh haven’t returned calls regarding the rumors, or talk that Rieman, if appointed, would start at a higher salary than most GM’s typically do …

** Phoebee Francois is a Hearing Officer, not a GM …

GM APPLICATION (Quick and Easy)


42 thoughts on “OPEN IT UP, PETER!”

  1. 0


    Hello? Judge Ribas? Soon the Ross clan will have enough votes to elect a Chief Judge just by counting votes at Sunday dinner.

  2. 0



    The Law office of Bill Gelin is offering a wonderful holiday special! Free bagel w/ cream cheese with the purchase of a large coffee!!!

    1. 0


      To anonymous a/k/a “SPECIAL – LIMITED TIME ONLY” :

      If I author an opinion or comment, particularly one which is, or which may be seen as, critical of an opinion or comment authored by another party, I sign my name directly below that comment or opinion.

      You, conversely and unsurprisingly, hide behind a ridiculous moniker while you criticize Bill Gelin, a real gentleman, who has a sack – and has proven that he does – time and again. A big one at that.

      Diamond Dave Dohner II

  3. 0


    The circuit has more important issues to deal with at this time. Getting Judge Hurley out of bond court should be of the highest priority. An arrested persons rights at a first appearance hearing should not be left to someone playing to a mass media audience. Judge Hurley should not be permitted to sit there playing to his audience rather than following the rules of criminal procedure mandating first appearance hearings. Judge Hurley should be disqualified from having this assignment. The PD should be filing motions to disqualify him every day.

  4. 0


    Judge Hurley is the best thing to ever happen to bond court. The Fink and co-horts should realize that they are not now and never will be in the position to choose which judges sit where. Doesn’t Finkelstein have enough on his hands trying to fill spots vacated by disgruntled attorneys who have quit or are running for office to try to get out from under his thumb ? Face it boys and girls, the public defender is just that and nothing more. His job is to defend indigent clients competently. I suggest he worry about that and not who gets what job and whether they are black or white. That’s the job of the governor and Chief Judge of this circuit. Wise up.

  5. 0


    I wonder if staff attorneys have felt any type of subtle or not so subtle heat not to apply? Or were they encouraged to apply en masse to make it look cleaner? Or maybe Rieman isn’t applying at all? Too many variables!

  6. 0


    Like Judge Hurley really cares about what some complaining pd has to say about how he runs his courtroom! More courtrooms should run as smoothly.

  7. 0


    Whiney’s lucky if his legacy shall be a bag of poop on new courthouse steps. All the time in the world to moon over fate of drunk Broward Judges and in obits for rich friends but never a peep about things mattering in real world.

  8. 0


    This is completely unfair to the legal community. Do you notice they NEVER hire male GM’s?

    Weisntein do the RIGHT thing OPEN it up and be FAIR

  9. 0


    We called Weinstein’s office to request they open up the GM position and extend the deadline.

    THEY WON’T DO it.

  10. 0


    I mean like who cares anyway. Court Admin doesn’t do anything anyway. Rieman’s had her snout where it don’t belong for years and is about as lazy as they come. Their only job is to cover for Broward judges that don’t do anything either. Nothing has changed since that other do nothing Carol Ortman was oiling it up with a whole list of unscrupulous characters In black of which the only one left is BBQ Ross since that skeve Grossman slid out under the door. Broward Court Admin is a contradiction in terms full of worthless scuzbags.

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