COFFEE TALK WITH JORGE LABARGA

ct4ct3

Today’s Guest: Chief Justice Labarga!

Discuss:  Are Florida’s judges underpaid?

Consider:  Budget cuts are hitting agencies across the state hard, to the point the Clerk of Courts is laying off employees, keeping shorter hours, and requiring furlough days.  At the same time, private sector first year associates at top firms start at $160,000 plus a bonus, almost $16,000 more than a circuit judge ($146,079.96), and $22,000 higher than a county judge ($138,019.92).

Should some of the highest paid public servants be concerned about the private sector at a time when all state employees are hurting? Does the extremely generous judicial pension program, which remains unmatched in the private sector even after recent changes requiring state employees to kick in three percent of their yearly income, make up for the perceived shortfall?  Or is Labarga correct in the following beliefs, taken from a recent Sun Sentinel interview:

(Labarga said) (s)tagnant salaries and reforms to state worker-pension programs have caused judges to flee the bench in recent years … “We lost a tremendous amount of judges throughout the state … They are back in private practice making millions right now. So we need to keep what we have, and we need to attract very talented people” … Labarga said better salary or benefits are needed to lure private attorneys into the public sector. As Florida’s population continues to grow and more businesses settle here, the state will need top-notch judges to deal with an influx of civil and contractual cases … Labarga said reforms must start with the pension … He recognizes the state will never be able to compete with private-sector salaries but said guaranteeing judges a secure future can make the position more attractive … “I want some more diversity among the profession … I want to see some more people from the private sector. I want to see more lawyers who are doing contract law … what we see now are pretty much prosecutors.”

TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES!

141 thoughts on “COFFEE TALK WITH JORGE LABARGA”

  1. 0

    0

    Sounds like someone is out of touch with reality. Exactly how many judges amounts to a tremendous number. I think in Broward the number is zero. The pay theory of attracting better judges is specious.

  2. 0

    0

    Never heard such bullchit ! Audit schedules of Broward County judges and find out the real story. They are flocking (to the bench) to do as little as they can and milk the system for as much as they can. Labarga has it so wrong he must be really out of it. Cutting judicial salaries is where they should have (started) instead. It’s incredible to even think he’s trying to push this tripe.

  3. 0

    0

    Top firms like Rothstein and clan ? I sure don’t know of any law firms that start at that. Labarga must be tripping on something!

    1. 0

      0

      To “more judicial hype”: have you ever heard of Greenberg, Traurig? Gunster, Yoakley? Holland and Knight? Ruden, McCloskey? Shutts and Bowen? Apply for a job at one of those firms and see what they’re paying. There’s one caveat–you have to be a top notch lawyer.

      1. 0

        0

        S & C, Cravath, Boies, Gibson Dunn, Munger Tolles pay even more…….but they won’t be hiring a Broward Judge anytime soon!!!!!!!

          1. 0

            0

            Stestson was named after the inventor of the Stetson hat, who became a great philanthropist and supporter of higher education. It’s not named after the hat itself.

  4. 0

    0

    The pay is too high already. It should be cut to guarantee true public servants instead of greedy Gus’s. Do a study about how many Grand Poohbahs actually end up taking less money to be a Judge before giving interviews of this nature. I gather the big big BIG majority get a pay hike. Believe it or not attracting talented civil lawyers for another 10 to 20 a year won’t begin to scratch the surface because of the rigged appointment process and because successful money lawyers put 200k of gas annually just in the boat. Make it a true merit system where the best lawyers get appointed instead of Joe Politicians’ 32 year old son and maybe that will get some quality players to follow the dream of being a Judge. In Broward they aren’t leaving anyway at least not by choice. Point of fact. They fight like cats and dogs not to get removed ask Watson and the Imp. The system is broken and if Justice Labarga wants to start fixing it to have good contract and business lawyers he can take some of his “prosecutors,” some of whom are very talented lawyers, and require forced rotation so Circuit’s like Broward don’t end up with one trick pony’s after sitting in the same Criminal division for 20 years growing hair on the brain. If they are required to learn other areas of law there will be enough talented Judges to go around. Oh yeah don’t forget, there are a million government lawyers and private sector lawyers who maybe aren’t good businesswomen or rainmakers or butt kiss politicians or related to the Governor who are great lawyers who would gladly take the Bench for 100 grand a year, who retire never making more than 80, but they don’t bother to put in because it’s a fucking terrible joke on society how Judges get appointed or elected. Money doesn’t mean jack, it’s not a yardstick for talent, the lawyers’ lawyer gets run over by the connected in private and public sector particularly if she doesn’t have an outsized personality. This is infuriating I will quit now.

  5. 0

    0

    Like riding a psychotic horse through a burning stable ! What drug is he on ? All this and chief judge Whiney Weinstein asking for more judges in Broward with budget cuts happening across the state? This just keeps getting funnier!

  6. 0

    0

    Maybe better lawyers would want to be part of his club if they thought it was a club worth joining. Try restoring a solid public image and that may happen. Instead of protecting bad and lazy Judges, bounce them. Hold them accountable to a higher standard and it may be that better lawyers will want to be a part of it. Nobody wants to live in a world where the public distrusts them and the bad apples are allowed to drag evryone else down. It’s not about salary. It’s about integrity.

  7. 0

    0

    Governors like appointing younger people. It’s a legacy thing. The money doesn’t matter. Older, more experienced people don’t stand a chance.

  8. 0

    0

    He’s so out of touch its scary. How many Broward judges work past lunch two or three days a week if that ? Courtrooms remain empty most of the time and these jokers think this is going to fly when the entire court system is being gutted. And this is somehow based on some Scum Sentinel article. No wonder why they can’t sell any papers.
    Just goes to show u how completely out of touch these people are and how far they’ll go to rip tax payers off for even more.
    CJ Labarga should visit Broward Courthouse to see for himself how little these judges do and then try to sell this utterly preposterous idea !
    I’d venture to say that more than 90 percent of judges in Broward sought the job as a way to get a pay increase and oh yeah, the big fat pension at the end of the rainbow.
    Labarga should see for himself the petty politicans that have had to milk the condo commandos for the job of sitting on the Broward bench when he talks about attracting quality judges to the bench. Then he should take a glance at their dockets to check out just how little Broward citizens are getting for their money.

  9. 0

    0

    HOW MANY DRUNK OR DRUGGED UP BROWARD JUDGES HAVE APPEARED IN ARTICLES AND ON THE TUBE WITHIN THE LAST YEAR. HOW MANY BROWARD JUDGES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM OFFICE WITHIN THE LAST YEAR. IVE GOT A GREAT IDEA: LETS GIVE JUDGES A RAISE.

  10. 0

    0

    Until local Chief Judges are held accountable things will be the same and I say don’t give them another penny because judiciary will always back a Chief Judge that lets things slide.

  11. 0

    0

    A real knee slapper; obviously hasn’t kept abreast of the judicial shenanigans around here or he’d never be suggesting this dumb idea.

  12. 0

    0

    Firms expect 2200 billable hours or more. No way Judges are working the kind of hours necessary to bill like that.

  13. 0

    0

    Labarga looks better as a woman ! What do we have: another Bruce Jenner now ? Judges don’t need a raise. They hardly work as it is and get paid way too much. Certainly more than they are worth !

  14. 0

    0

    Most Broward judges couldn’t make it in private practice because they lacked the talent and the dedication wasn’t there. That’s why they became judges in the first place, for the pay. What makes Labarga think the dimwits or diehard appointees in Broward are even worth what they are paid now ? This guy obviously is as far out on a branch as some of the judges in Broward with substance abuse problems.

  15. 0

    0

    Leave him alone. He is a smart person who has dedicated himself to public service. If he needs more money give it to him. It must be expensive commuting to Tallahassee.

  16. 0

    0

    Is Labarga a drinker too ! LOL. When the court system budget is being slashed across the state, this numb nut thinks the judges need a raise ? Broward judges need therapy, not raises.

  17. 0

    0

    I like the line about public service. There’s a big difference between what he considers public service and fleecing the public. Pretty funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

  18. 0

    0

    The private sector doesn’t want you after you’ve worked in the public sector because of how lazy you become after sucking off the public trough for so long unless you’re a firm like the now defunct Rothstein and Adler. They only wanted these defrocked Broward judges because they were in the influence peddling game. You see what that got them all. What a joke. This idiot must have a mental problem. Throughly out of touch with reality. That’s what happens to these flockers after they’ve forgotten what it’s like to work for a living.

  19. 0

    0

    I don’t think this is warranted. This Chief Justice has done more to bring Judges into line during his tenure than any prior CJ. He’s refused JQC recommendations and upped punishments. He’s trying, and he’s only looking out for his people with the pay issue. These comments are disgusting and ruin the blog.

  20. 0

    0

    It’s too bad more serious topics don’t get the attention they deserve from people at the apex of the power pyramid.

    1. 0

      0

      I heard Justice Perry and Judge Holmes spoke of race and the police at the conference. They should bring it to the public’s attention too so things can move forward.

  21. 0

    0

    He should come to Fort Lauderdale and personally audit the situation before pushing this agenda. Wear a fake beard and a hat and see all the empty courtrooms and half days. If they know its hIm they’ll schedule weddings to keep the courtrooms full all day.

  22. 0

    0

    Broward county judges have made it so bad for the others that it can’t be simply overlooked. He has about as much chance of pushing this stupid agenda thru with the Florida Legislature as it is as Ana Gardiner has of becoming a judge again.
    Broward judges have the worst reputations of any judges in the state and deservedly so with as many being removed for various reasons. Rothstein and former and present judge cronies haven’t improved the situation. They are lucky a number of others haven’t fallen by the wayside with the games they were playing.
    Judges simply don’t deserve any kind of raises when they haven’t earned them. Especially when the rest of the public servants are getting cut to the bone. We’ve got a CJ that doesn’t even carry a docket himself so the argument of raises is asinine.
    These judges should have to carry the burden of cuts like everybody else especially when they don’t have to work very hard to begin with. Check it out for yourself by looking at how little they actually do for the pay and fat pensions they receive already. CJ Labarga is really out of whack when he’s pushing a stupid idea like this at this time.

  23. 0

    0

    If improvement was demonstrated I would support a raise. But for now Judges should be treated no differently than others. Without evidence of improved performance things should stay the same.

    Mostly the issue is accountability. Judges answer to no one when it comes to behavior patterns and job performance. Chief Judges want to be reelected so they are hardly the ones that should be in charge. What is needed is a top administrator like in a hospital. Drs look after patients, administrator looks after drs and makes sure everyome is pulling his weight and the hospital is running smoothly. That could work in law game too.

  24. 0

    0

    Labarga is just another reason why these people should keep their yaps closed when they don’t know what they’re talking about. He doesn’t have a law practice so he wouldn’t know what it’s like to have to live up to a quota of productivity. He’s just another one milking the well dry and full of stupid ideas like this one. Not knowing what a bottom line is about puts him in the same position as the rest of these bureaucrats milking at the public reservoir.

  25. 0

    0

    Yeah the pay’s so rotten they’ve already got their wives, husbands, and children clawing over each other to get the job.

  26. 0

    0

    The “top firms” are from major markets. Nova and UM 1st year associates staying local make less than Judges. I like Justice Labarga but this is the wrong time.

  27. 0

    0

    All state workers got dinged by Governor Scott on pension!!

    Assistant State Attorneys on average make next to nothing protecting the public. Less than police officers! With huge law school debt!!

    What about everybody else? Please!

  28. 0

    0

    If a requirement for the state bench was a thorough FBI background check as in federal they would be worth more. Weed out the druggies, drunks, cheats, neurotics, liars etc in advance. The people who ultimately compromise the judiciary wouldn’t apply in the first place. A higher caliber judiciary is worth more investment but the current method of filling out an application and schmoozing a committee is a recipe for what exists now: a disaster.

    1. 0

      0

      Background checks? Make me laugh. People come to Florida because they’re compromised, or too stupid and lazy (usually both) to make it in the real world. Who would pass?

  29. 0

    0

    What a load of horse poo. You have people who retired and come back as Senior Judges within a few days and years later, still coming to work daily (such as Joel Lazarus). You have judges that don’t work a full week. All these people get a lovely retirement package.

    What do the lower level employees get? ZILCH. And few if any of the uppers give a rats behind.

    Yeah, I’d love to see a lot of upper management salaries be audited too. But in the end, nobody will care. Everyone is in it for themselves and screw the little people.

  30. 0

    0

    You will always have the consummate tit suckers like Joel. But what else could he have ever done, and even that not very well ! Nothin to answer the question but sucker up to the public trough and hold on for dear life. But in the end what has it got him ! Lol. Sad. One of the use and abuse sack for what ?

  31. 0

    0

    I get it. It’s easy to feel superior to everyone from 9 to 5 but after that reality kicks in. The lawyers head to Capital Grille and the Judge to Sweet Tomatoes. But that’s the choice one makes when signing up for the civil sevice. Bonus: mingle with constituents over the sneeze guard at the salad bar. A good Judge know’s it’s always campaign season.

  32. 0

    0

    Jorge, you’ve been drinking too much koolaide, man ! Wake up and smell the coffee and if you’d rather be a first year associate at a real law firm and have your time sheets scrutinized for the big money, do it ! Otherwise keep riding the dragon for the big pension payoff and stop squawking ! Lol. Your a dummy, face it and swallow hard.

  33. 0

    0

    I’d agree. They call it public service with built in raises and a BIG PENSION end game ! These coots are hysterical:)

  34. 0

    0

    Better candidates would be attracted by a 200 or 250 annual but better money will also draw twice as many political types owed favors so nothing will be different.

  35. 0

    0

    Labarga couldn’t win this kind of argument if he had somebody write it for him. These judges in Broward do next to nothing. CJ Weinstein does nothing.

  36. 0

    0

    The practice of blind obedience to self interest at the expense of the public is common among these types of people. Their contempt for everyone else’s intelligence is transparent. The sky is the limit when the public picks up the tab. Where’s the judicial oversight in all of this ?

  37. 0

    0

    Judges are way overpaid. They are supposed to call balls and strikes and sentence. Referees in sports aren’t supposed to make more than the players but recognizing they have law school debt let’s pay them in between what a starting Asa and Sr Asa would make. $80,000 with a pension sounds fair. They can leave if they don’t like it. Absent term limits this is better way. Who intended career Judges anyway? Not the founding fathers. In sports the players make the real money. Raise the government lawyers to what Judges get now. Why are the referrees making more than the people doing the hard part? Its no question the streets will be safer if Asas make real money they will work 2x as hard.

  38. 0

    0

    Judges are way overpaid. They are supposed to call the balls and strikes and sentence. Referees in sports aren’t supposed to make more than the players. Recognizing they have law school debt let’s pay them in between what a starting Asa and Sr Asa would make. $80,000 with a pension sounds fair. They can leave if they don’t like it. Absent term limits this is better way. Who intended career Judges anyway? Not the founding fathers. In sports the players make the real money. Raise the government lawyers to what Judges get now. Why are the referrees making more than the people doing the hard part? Its no question the streets will be safer if Asas make real money they will work 2x as hard.

  39. 0

    0

    Judges are way overpaid. They are supposed to call the balls and strikes and sentence. Referees in sports aren’t supposed to make more than the players but recognizing they have law school debt let’s pay them in between what a starting Asa and Sr Asa would make. $80,000 with a pension sounds fair. They can leave if they don’t like it. Absent term limits this is better way. Who intended career Judges anyway? Not the founding fathers. In sports the players make the real money. Raise the government lawyers to what Judges get now. Why are the referrees making more than the people doing the hard part? Its no question the streets will be safer if Asas make real money they will work 2x as hard.

  40. 0

    0

    Judges are way overpaid. They are supposed to call the balls and strikes and sentence. Referees in sports aren’t supposed to make more than the players but recognizing they have law school debt let’s pay them in between what a starting Asa and Sr Asa would make. $80,000 with a pension sounds fair. They can leave if they don’t like it. Absent term limits this is better way. Who intended career Judges anyway? Not the founding fathers. In sports the players make the real money. Raise the government lawyers to what Judges get now. Why are the referrees making more than the people doing the hard part? Its no question the streets will be safer if Asas make real money they will work 2x as hard.

      1. 0

        0

        All the Donalds football stuff is stupid but the 80 grand sounds about right. This way the Chief Justice gets what he wants. Either super successful attorneys on the bench who already made their money and know business law inside and out, or people who don’t care about money, ie true public servants. Win/win/win…….also thinking of the millions in savings to the State in salary.

  41. 0

    0

    You’d think Judges would be nicer to the low income people appearing before them seeing as how they have so much in common.

  42. 0

    0

    Considering what little they do as judges in Broward, I think a 20 percent cut should be considered. Fill the positions with other than career bumpkins and maybe, just maybe the quality will improve as well. Oh, yeah, and check their credit histories and a criminal background check.

  43. 0

    0

    Start by giving Broward judges breathalyzer tests before taking the bench and then tie their pay (like teachers) to performance standards…

  44. 0

    0

    Hahaha Rosenthal and Imperato will be Judges for as long as they want………and higher paid quicker than saying in your face losers!!!!! I’ll drink to that!!!!!

  45. 0

    0

    The judges, the bailiffs, the sa, pd, all are chock full of double dippers after entering the state drop program and then sucking the state of Florida again and taking jobs away from people that need them to pay back student loans but can’t because of these super-suckers. Isn’t it time the legislature tackles this big problem and in the process save tax payers millions and millions of dollars? What the hell is happening and why is this allowed to continue ?

    1. 0

      0

      The Presidency has been devalued into a cash cow just like everything else. Donald Trump is a pig but he’s not wrong about needing to make America great again. The place to start is with the money grubbing public officials who wheeze about being public servants but really are in it to feather their own nests and satisfy their massive egos. Oopsie I almost forgot, also get high paying government jobs for their family members so they can work half days and be set for life too.

  46. 0

    0

    Judges must eat at least twenty thousand a year in free food at all the banquets. Comfort food for being broke.

  47. 0

    0

    It’s true :The double dippers make big bucks for the second time! They start us at nothing and expect everything. They don’t carry caseloads like I do either.

  48. 0

    0

    Let me understand, all Judges, including those in podunk county, who are already the highest earners in the region, need more money?

  49. 0

    0

    If a man like Judge Labarga says he needs more money I am ok. He is a hard worker. He should look around all Florida first before saying a raise is needed because there are a lot of people on the bench taking advantage of the public. He should become involved at the local level. He should work to firm up the foundation by changing the local rules to give Tallahassee the ability to intervene when the JNC runs off the rails and Judges vote for self interest and do nothing Chief Judges. The Judges on appellate courts and Supreme Court should advocate for lawyers applying for judgeships. How can a Governor appoint some inexperienced political hack when a Supreme Court Justice is pushing for a highly qualified lawyer who has demonstrated dedication to the law and long hours over a long career? How can they stand by when one great lawyer after another gets passed by in favor of political payback? Aren’t they somewhat to blame for the pollution? Aren’t they the guardians? How can they ask for more money when so many are sick to death of the state of the judiciary?

    1. 0

      0

      How much more retirement benefit does he want? A Judge lasting 20 years already gets like 100,000 a year for life plus 600,000 in Drop money. ENOUGH!

    2. 0

      0

      It will always be political to some degree but if they get involved at least it could be at least 50/50 political hire versus merit as opposed to 80/20 in place now.

  50. 0

    0

    Trade off: Broward judges subject themselves voluntarily to schedule audits and then raises can be considered. Those that measure up get raises and those who don’t get squat except opposition when their terms are up. Lol. Watch how many hide their heads in a the sand and stop whining about raises.

  51. 0

    0

    Caseloads continue to rise and after DROP these people are coming back occupying their same high paying jobs for yet a second round, many in supervisory positions and then were told there’s no money for raises for the rest. When I see this kind of suggestion being made for judges, many who are back for seconds, it makes me sick. The DROP state program should be looked at again to stop these kinds of practices. It’s fundamentally unfair and I’m sure it’s at a tremendous cost to tax payers. An inquiry should be made to determine the exact cost for this practice.

  52. 0

    0

    The cost is ruinous for sure and it’s very common in Broward for this sort of thing. The recipients of DROP are often maxed out on the pay scale upon retirement and then allowed to come back at the same salaries depriving other hard working people of any hope of advancement. It seems very wrong and should be discouraged in the future. It’s simply not right and flagrantly unfair.

  53. 0

    0

    Please List all judges, SA and PD DROP recipients. I intend to follow up on this matter. When you can’t even pay your student loans, something has to be done. Thank you.

  54. 0

    0

    Leave the SAO and PDO out of it unless you’re talking about Satz and Finkelstein. The workers need that money because of pathetically low salaries and a pension multiplier well below that of the judicial branch. Constitutional Officer pay and pension and $600,000 to $900,000 in DROP money is the real problem. I think the Supreme Court has opened up a healthy dialogue with the pay increase issue.

  55. 0

    0

    There should be an exam for judgeships, like a super hard version of the bar exam. Make it really hard and make them work in the courtroom 9 to 5 even if there’s nothing going on. Whatever they do in Chambers they can do in there so they’re always accessible. If they’re experienced enough to pass the test and willing to put in the hours then pay them 350. We’d have great Judges then and save money because one smart full time Judge can do what three of today’s slackers do.

  56. 0

    0

    No wonder these schleps hang on for dear life and then return to suck at the public trough again. Lol.
    This DROP PROGRAM creates a huge disparity between wage earners, particularly those first coming into the workforce, sapping creative energy from those who are in most need to pay back student loans and discouraging those taking a second advantage of wage earning capacity from remaining productively engaged.
    High level extraction is what is called for. The tremendous cost and waste to tax payers is abundantly clear.

  57. 0

    0

    Let me understand this. Labarga thinks judges need a raise? We’ve got county court judges that don’t work beyond 11:30 and leave after lunch three days a week. Yeah, let’s throw some money at the problem. He must really know his stuff.

  58. 0

    0

    Labarga sounds like he’s really trying to keep the world safe. Obviously he’s out of touch. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Sounds like he’s a believer in the trickle down theory minus a few marbles when we’ve got DROP recipients coming back making as much as judges already while the rest of us work for tips while trying to figure out how we’re going to defer our student loans for another year. What is he thinking ?

  59. 0

    0

    Never heard anything quite so rediculas from Labarga. Broward judges think they’re on easy street from the time they’ve taken the bench! Accountable to nobody and riding it out until the big prize unless they get pulled over drunk or removed. It’s amazing he can be so out of it to take aim at such a dumb idea as to reward them for the kind of stuff we’ve been watching them pull.

  60. 0

    0

    Labarga is on the losing end of this idea. Obviously he has no idea how easy these judges’ schedules actually are ! Wonder what he’d have to say about how many of them go into the state Drop Program and then wind up back soaking the tax payers for another round ?

  61. 0

    0

    Judges are not underpaid in my estimation. They are overpaid. Boy, oh boy, check out just how much they do here, lol

    1. 0

      0

      Dale Ross double dipping? Where??

      Joel Lazarus is and has been double dipping since a few days after he “retired”

      If you’re going to throw someone under the bus, don’t do it with flat tires

    1. 0

      0

      NOOOOOOOO

      State oversight is the same thing in place now.

      Don’t put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

      Put civilians in charge. Something like a Board of Directors for a major corporation with the ability to sanction deadbeat judges.

      Putting the state in charge is more politicians protecting their own dirty pension multiplier into the driver’s seat. Government waste is the enemy and lord knows they are already doing a fine job of bleeding the hardworking citizens dry,

  62. 0

    0

    Labarga looks about as dumb in drag as his idea of giving these freeloaders a raise ! They don’t do anything but collect their fat pay checks until their fat pensions roll around. He should check out their lax schedules before coming up with such a stupid idea such as this one. And cut the lazy ones and double dippers in the STATE DROP down to size, like out of the picture all together. Such unbelievable waste. Like visiting the City Dump !

  63. 0

    0

    Get real Labarga ! They’re paid more than any of them are worth. Putt’em on a time clock, make them punch in and then you’ll see just how incredibly stupid your suggestion is.

  64. 0

    0

    Take a look at the performance of Broward judges and make another moronic suggestion like these idiots need a raise. You are either a moron or completely out of touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.