THE BACK STORY

The DBR’s John Pacenti picked up the story of the recently issued Supreme Court Administrative Order 14-66 (IN RE: DILIGENT PERFORMANCE OF JUDICIAL DUTIES), which gives Florida chief judges the authority and obligation to ensure your judges are performing admirably.  It’s a good article, with some great quotes from people like Howard Finkelstein, who compares the Broward courthouse to a “clown house“.  You can read it here.  One thing Pacenti is missing though is some of the back story which led up to the issuance of the AO, which follows.

Rumors had been swirling for quite some time before the Order came out about a possible Senate investigation into Broward’s ever troubled judiciary.  Along those lines we contacted Dave Simmons a few weeks ago, a Senator representing Seminole and part of Volusia counties, and a member of the Judiciary Committee.  Simmons was able to confirm that there was talk of holding public hearings in order to “shine the light of truth” on the troubled 17th Judicial Circuit, and that concerns went far beyond the national headlines regarding the infamous DUI judges, specifically judges hardly working (or not working at all).  During the conversation we also mentioned frustration with chief judges not being willing or able to compel judges to do the right thing, and the need for civility panels for judges like the ones that apply to lawyers, before wishing the Senator a good day.

Then, on November 24th, we sent an email to Craig Waters, public information officer for the Supreme Court, who was heavily featured in Pacenti’s article.

From the email titled “SENATE INQUIRY RE JUDICIARY“:

(JAABLOG’S) writing to ask if the justices are aware of Senator Dave Simmons gathering information for a possible Senate investigation or hearings regarding the Broward judiciary, or the Florida judiciary in general. Concerns would include arrests of judges, not working hard, and other ethical issues … Please advise as soon as you can … All (we) really need to know is if the Supreme Court is aware of it, and if they approve, or propose alternative methods to control or correct some of the problems plaguing our judiciary.

Waters’ response from the same day:

… the Court is very much aware of news reports alleging misconduct by judges.  We cannot comment at this time because of the possibility that these charges will be brought before the Court in JQC proceedings.

And our follow-up, which Waters never answered, along with our subsequent phone calls:

Thanks Craig, but to clarify, you are saying the Court is aware of Senator Simmons activities regarding a potential Senate inquiry or public hearings?

Then, suddenly, after nothing but the chirping of crickets, the AO was issued December 1st.

Is there some connection between Simmons’ behind the scenes sabre rattling, and the issuance of the AO shortly after our conversation with the Senator and emails to the Supreme Court?  That’s what we asked Simmons earlier today, who confirmed he didn’t know an AO was in the works when we first spoke.  Additionally, Simmons said Senate hearings are no longer being discussed, due to satisfaction with the strongly worded Order, which places an ethical obligation on CJ’s everywhere to make sure judges are getting the job done.

I really believe judges will do what they need to do, which is police themselves”, Simmons said, “and if they don’t, we’ll look at it again.”

So there you have it.  Whether or not the preceding events are related is anybody’s guess, although the timing seems to confirm the Supreme Court is once again stepping up to the plate to correct the latest Broward County embarrassments.  Both Simmons and the Supreme Court deserve thanks, while we look forward to clarification of the scope of chief judges’ new obligations following this week’s statewide Chief Judges Meeting, where you can bet the Order will be a hot topic of discussion …

Movement? – Imperato to Streitfeld Civil; D. Bailey to Feren Family; Contini to Gold Criminal, if Gold decides to go to Grossman Probate; Merrigan to Rosenthal Criminal (currently covered by Levenson); Rosenthal stays in Foreclosures (at least until February CJ election); Schulman to Merrigan Dependency; C. Robinson to South Satellite Richards …

Coming SoonWhere’s Bobby Diaz?; Mike Mayo thinks it’s time for action too; Who’s minding the Satellites?; Dosage probation update; Can a CJ without a division expect other judges to work hard?; Who is Chip Diamond?

SS: Trial date for Imperato DUI case, and a bad ruling for defense

33 thoughts on “THE BACK STORY”

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    I guess this means the judges can all thank Diaz’ fine work ethic for all the extra push-ups they all now have to do.

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    FLORIDA U KNOW THIS COURT – IS INCOMPETENT INEPT & CORRUPT! – FUKTHISCOURT.COM

    IT APPEARS THAT ANY SENATE JUDICIAL HEARINGS ARE ALREADY DOOMED WITH SENATOR DAVE SIMMONS STATEMENT

    “I really believe judges will do what they need to do, which is police themselves”, Simmons said, “and if they don’t, we’ll look at it again.”

    I WOULD WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAR AND SPEAK TO ANY PROPOSED SENATE JUDICIAL HEARINGS AS WELL AS BE QUESTIONED

    FUK

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    Senate Hearings are the only way to stop widespread judicial corruption. The people have been snookered by a toothless diversion tactic once again. Nothing shall change.

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    Dec. 9

    Bill,

    The “back story” to the Supreme Court’s issuance of their Administrative Order is not your phones calls or 2 emails to Tallahassee that you so humbly posted, even though you’d like to have us believe that you and Help Me Howard are the saviors of Broward County.

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      To anonymous a/k/a “Billie the selfie expert” :

      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

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    Does the chief judge bother knowing when the judges are out of the courthouse? Does he even ask them to let him know if they will be out? Or if they have other jobs? Or is he deliberately ignorant of their absence from the courthouse? How can he report to the Supreme Court whether a particular judge’s judicial work “takes precedence over all the judge’s other activities.” Canon 3A, Code of Judicial Conduct. Article V, section 13, of the Florida Constitution? How could he even know to report to the Supreme Court whether a judge devotes full time to judicial duties when there are no records? This is willful blindness. Don’t voters deserve to know how many days a judge has taken off in a given year? Or if they have other jobs? Voters have so little to go on in deciding judges that it is almost laughable. At least as early as former chief judge Dale Ross terms the dirty little secret has been that the judges are the only ones who vote for chief judge and they are not about to vote for someone who holds them accountable. With this recent order, the chief judge’s blind eye will be turned at his or her own peril. We can only hope this will make a difference.

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    For a guy who is supposed to be a master politician Weinstein seems to be unable to grasp the obvious. The Supremes issued that order to get the Circuits attention; start acting like judges not a bunch of privileged ignoramuses. The judges doing the job know who they are and everybody knows the judges who aren’t doing their job. Time to open your eyes and embrace the horror you have created oh exalted one.

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    When the proof is that CJ’s will not follow the rules and do their jobs–this makes any “order” pure fantasy signifying nothing but buck passing and dodging responsibility to acknowledge that the complaints are made precisely because CJ’s will not and a refusal to “receive” evidence which might require them to actually do something.

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    After reading howard’s letter and baraga’s bull response–the Rules and Canons have always been there–just the fact that braga would have to say so and order they be followed is proof positive they re not and after all the JQC complaints specifically on these issues, Canons and rules routinely dismissed speaks volumes to confirming they are NOT. What hubris and a tremendous joke on any and all citizens of this state. Riddle me this–what judge has obeyed Canon 3D–particularly in broward or even the 4th, be it judge/bar member or lawyer/bar member? I KNOW because I have filed such complaints. I KNOW because I followed the procedures outlined in the State constitution and on the Supreme Court website “How to Complain about the JQC” when the initial bodies failed and refused. I KNOW because the Florida supremies, especially under CJ Quince, refused to “receive information” pursuant Canon 3D in order to bury their heads in the sand to cover it up, conceal it and NOT deal with it, by pleading ignorance–so no braga “administrative order” to do what has always been required is worth the toilet pater it was written on. They do not want to deal with the consequences of exposure of the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” about the fraud of the Florida judiciary and it’s collusion with the exec and legislative branches in violating their respective state and federal constitutional mandates.

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    After contacting Simmons orifice re this ‘activity” in the name sunshine–his lackey assistant referred me to Broward district legislators to contact because apparently, despite the fact that involves “statewide issues” and Simmons Judiciary Committee–he wants nothing to do with actually taking any action unless you are in his district and will not discuss anything outside of it. Same old Same old sh*t–another huffnpuffer like the rest of the lying scumbags on the House Judiciary Committee creating an appearance that even the slightest inquiry debunks. Florida is NOT a Constitutional State.

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