Sorry, merit based entry only (for a change) …

There’s an exclusive club in Broward County, and probably in your town too.  The First Degree Murder Club, or FDMC for short.  Lawyers with two or more not guilty verdicts in First Degree Murder cases.  Lessers or compromise verdicts don’t count.  It’s got to be a flat out not guilty or JOA to qualify, and you have to do it twice to show the first time wasn’t a fluke.

These cases are the ones police and the SAO thoroughly investigate, and they’re handled by the most talented and experienced prosecutors.  No mismatches here.  Adding to the stress is the media scrutiny these trials often attract, not to mention how some of them test stamina by dragging on and on and on.  Attorneys who overcome the incredible odds and pressure even once in a career are masters of their craft, but to do it multiple times puts them in a league of their own.

And without further ado, here are the known members of Broward’s FDMC:

Dennis Bailey, John Cotrone, Michael Entin, John George, Jeff Harris, Barbara Heyer, John Howes, Pete Laporte, Jim Lewis, Ed McGee, Hilly Moldof, Mitch Polay, Chris Pole, Pat Rastatter, Keith Seltzer, Raag Singhal, Don Tenbrook, Mike Tenzer, and Dohn Williams.

Well done!

(Post a comment if you know of others, and we’ll follow-up.  Most homicide lawyers were contacted, but it’s a certainty there’s more.  Interestingly, the majority of those named above have three or more NG’s, with one attorney boasting SEVEN)

Coming Soon – Your new circuit court judge is … ; Eugene Pettis follows through; How come no one wants to calculate time served?

157 thoughts on “THE FDMC”

  1. 0


    TOM GALLAGHER, had many not guilty verdicts on First Degree Murder cases over the years. He is without doubt the leader in this category.

  2. 0


    FDMC : Free Da Murders Club
    It’s better that 10 guilty men be freed than one innocent man be convicted.

  3. 0


    There are at least three lawyers that I know of on that list who won acquittals after DNA pointed to someone else. Amazingly, they still had to go to trial on their cases. So, in answer to your question, I would say “at least three.”

  4. 0


    C-otrone must have or does spend all his time on these two FDM cases because he does NOT spend any time on felonies…no real lawyering…just c-rap and c-afeteria.

  5. 0


    I can see why jurys go with these guys. Pat and Moldof are the only prickly personality types in the bunch. All the rest easily win the likeable guy contest jurors often engage in.

  6. 0


    Rastetter’s secret is to ALWAYS wear those same brown pants and a blue shirt … every day.

    No need to change, or even change his clothes

    Just ‘wake up n go’ !!

  7. 0


    I walked a killer once.

    I was a young public defender in San Francisco, the late 60’s.

    Within a few years of my shining moment, around ’71, the freed killer had murdered two people he didn’t even know. A woman and a teenaged girl he buried alive.

    He was killed by police shortly thereafter, in a grisly shootout after hijacking a bus full of school children. Luckily none of the children
    were hurt.

    After that I vowed never to handle another capital case again, and moved to South Florida shortly thereafter.

  8. 0


    With all due respect to acquittals like O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony, Broward’s First Degree Murder Club should be presented with FDMC vanity plates reading “We Acquit”.

  9. 0


    Dennis Bailey had two jury acquittals (back-to-back) in first degree murder trials against Tony Loe and Jeff Marcus; thus Dennis is a member of the elite club.

  10. 0


    To 8:24 PM:

    If you think anyone makes getting an acquittal on a First Degree Murder case easy, you are an idiot, and you definitely have never gotten a not guilty on one.

  11. 0


    RE, I walked a killer once: I voted for Obama in 2008, the hope for change, and subsequent Nobel Peace Prize winner, but that does not make me liable for his murder by drone of innocents, under his death by drone policy.

  12. 0


    What about Gerry Cunningham-oops wait– he assists the SAO in convicting his clients. How many special PD appointments does that get him to pay his bills?

  13. 0



    Blacks need apply – there’s a deepening diversity crisis in the 17th Circuit judiciary. With Mary Robinson on extended medical leave, and Ian Richards under attack at the polls, Broward is in grave danger of losing badly needed Black representation on the bench. There are currently six judges that fit the description (out of 90), only three more than when we first wrote about the issue back in 2008. It’s a disgrace, and current governor Rick Scott has yet to appoint a Black 17th judge, while making at least four blatantly political local appointments thus far.Still, it’s …

  14. 0


    Must have been easier back in the day without DNA to contend with.

    Figured I’d point that out.

  15. 0


    Don’t forget Gerry Cunningham–oh wait a minute–he facilitates convictions of his clients by ASSISTING the ASA’s so he can get more cases assigned to attain is wealth–now that is a gentleman!!

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