Circuit Criminal Division Meeting Peter Weinstein addressed the North Wing judges today, and from what we’re hearing, he’s rattled.  Having to deal with the most recent barrage of bad publicity, concurrent with a challenge for the chief judge’s docket-free throne, seems to have him a little out of sorts.

Apparently there was talk of possibly involving the local and State Bars to try to curb Howard Finkelstein’s three ringed criticisms of the 17th Circuit’s performance under Weinstein’s leadership, which is awfully confusing,* seeing as how neither body has any authority over the Public Defender.  In fact, the Broward Bar has no authority over anyone, let alone an elected official, who answers only to the Governor.

From the Florida Bar’s website:

The State Commission on Ethics deals with complaints about misconduct by some elected officials. The Florida Bar does not have jurisdiction to discipline lawyers who occupy constitutionally created positions including judges. The (JQC) investigates allegations of misconduct by judges. The conduct of State Attorneys and elected Public Defenders is overseen by the Governor of Florida. 

And from Florida Bar Assistant Director Public Information Zannah Lyle:

In reference to your question about whether The Florida Bar has the authority to investigate elected public officials, the answer is no.

Even if either body could go after Finkelstein for exercising his free speech rights, would it be wise to do so?  Of course not.  Long time readers will remember large ink spills when the local and State Bars went after JAABLOG, only to end up looking silly.  Imagine how much greater the coverage would be if a local celebrity like the Public Defender was the target?  Additionally, there’s no love lost between the general public and the perennially leader-less Broward judges, who have relentlessly disappointed and embarrassed the community as long as anyone can remember.  The bottom line is Weinstein would be foolish to let this go any further than the letters to the editor column of the DBR, and even then, the chief judge shouldn’t copy the entire judiciary when somebody says something nice about him.

We’re told there was also some discussion relating to the Get to Work! AO at today’s gathering, in advance of the statewide Chief Judges meeting which closes out the week.  Believe it or not, judges were told to make themselves something akin to visible, interpreted by more than one observer as a suggestion for judges to work in court instead of their offices after public duties have concluded for the day.  Granted, this audience was full of hard-working circuit criminal judges, but we’re told the impression was given that face time is now an overriding concern, while terms like work harder, and diligence were never used.  Let’s hope the message is much different for judges in other divisions, particularly those with a reputation for being bone idle.  In the meantime, we’ll have to step up our attendance-taking JAABWALKS, just to make sure the Get to Work! AO is being taken seriously …

(* The Bar talk was also confusing due to the fact Weinstein was observed being extra nice to Finkelstein yesterday, the same day he sent the email to judges complaining about the DBR clown comments)

Mike Lynch for Judge! – the younger Lynch makes it official, filing for the retiring Jack Luzzo’s circuit seat.  The paperwork should post Thursday.  Congrats!

Movement update Marc Gold is indeed going to Probate, departing Criminal mid-January.  Cindy Imperato’s promotion to Civil may be on hold though, pending the outcome of her DUI trial in Palm Beach next week.  We’re told some judges are mighty upset that Imperato may end up with a coveted assignment basically due to being arrested, which could cost Weinstein some votes come February, making it a wait and see.  There’s also some talk of Jack Tuter taking over for Streitfeld, but that would still leave a nice Civil slot open.  Ongoing …

Coming SoonWhere are Grossman & Feren, and did they have anything to do with the issuance of the Get to Work! AO?; Somebody should tell Peter Weinstein that Ian Richards didn’t actually retire; A tale of a media savvy PD, a media savvy Blog, and a Luddite CJ; Your tax dollars at work – senior judge payouts!

20 thoughts on “WEDNESDAY NOTES”

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    General Information: (954) 831-6565

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    Its interesting how any chief judge can continue to make excuses for drunk or drugged up judges in his circuit when he doesn’t even carry a caseload of his own. What do these people do all day besides collect a paycheck? Pathetic state of affairs for Broward or anywhere else. He should be removed from office. How can the public have any confidence at all in our system of justice with these kinds of things going on.

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    Of shit, they are bringing in the Broward County Bar Association, now you know heads will roll…..said no one ever

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      PW: Howard you know I have to talk tough about you out there, but in the end I know you are the master. Also, do you think Gelin would like to be appointed to the Courthouse Task Force to get off my back?

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    Has anyone seen the rock, errr, the boulder, Weinstein is now hiding under? Riddle me this, if Weinstein loses the chief judge race, will he retire? He should being that he doesn’t want to carry a docket.

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    Weinstein is just another political boob looking to shift his incompetence on somebody else, in this case Mr. Finkelstein for stating the truth about what’s been known to everyone and is now being spoken about openly and appearing in newspapers almost weekly.
    I’ve never had much faith in a lifetime political hack whose only real aim is to slide his way with as little resistance as possible to retirement.
    You could get rid of half the judges in Broward county if you could just count on the remainder coming to work and doing what they are being paid by tax payers to do.
    That’s a losing proposition in Broward where gaining a judgeship is looked upon as being paid to be retired to begin with.

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    Calling broward courts a three ring circus would be a step up for these clowns if you ask me. It’s more like a carnival side-show.

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    JQC is a bigger joke that any individual judge because they routinely dismiss verified and verifiable complaints daily. They don’t need no stinkin’ rules even the “complain about the JQC process is on paper only, just like the JQC–in actuality–they decide they exist to protect all bad judges instead protecting the people from them in the manner the rules require– so even if it was 50 years–it ain’t gonna happen in real life. Grow up and load up.

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    All the clown talk is distracting from the real issue. Maybe Weinstein is correct that it lowers the dialogue. It also allows Weinstein to divert attention with his indignation from the real issues including lazy Judges stealing tax payer money, drugged up and drunk Judges, and Weinstein’s total failure to work hard, set a good example, and crack down on Judges flagrantly degrading the robe.

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    Weinstein would say anything at this point depending on who he talks to just to hang onto the CJ position and mean little of it. I suspect if you look deeper, you’ll find Daddyback staring out of his hole despite attempts by Whiney and other judges to keep him out of the picture publicly. Same old story with the same old players looking to put a tough face to a fatally flawed and limping broward judiciary.
    How many wounded broward judges does it take to screw in a single lightbulb when no one is at the helm?

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    As long as the Bar is in charge of investigating lawyers and the Bar, the result will be flawed and they are constitutional under the S. Ct. The Bar and Lawyer regulation needs to put under the legislative branch dept. of business regulation and an independent civilian committee established to carry our this business.

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