Weinstein said he didn't want to be critical of the county. After all, they're building a new county courthouse and two new garages, for employees and for judges. But he said $8 an hour in the public garage just east of the courthouse on Southeast Third Avenue on the south side of the New River, is "really out of line."
... "I think asking people to pay that kind of money to come to court is very significant," Weinstein said. "On the other hand, I also recognize all the expenses the county has."
Carmel Cafiero: Chief Judge Ross monitoring slacker judge's dockets (2007)
If Pope Francis can reform the Catholic Church,
... can't Broward find a leader to reform its judiciary?
60 Minutes: Spurning tradition to bring humility and humanity to the papacy
DBR Profile: Carlos Rodriguez
NYT: Sweeping Ruling on Domestic Violence
LA Times: In North Korea, meth is offered as casually as a cup of tea
LA Times: LAPD officers tampered with in-car recording equipment
SS: JQC recommends removal of Broward Judge Laura Watson
BBeat: Kasen gets PBA endorsement
DBR: So long, Professor Rogow ...
SS: Mickey Rocque keeps kicking Sunrise PD to the curb
NT: Are you a racist? More Blacks Ticketed for Seat Belts in Fort Lauderdale, PD Says
Former Broward Circuit Judge Robert Zack called Livoti a “lawyer’s lawyer” with “impeccable” credentials. “His good deeds far outweigh this mistake,’’ Zack told Scola, “though I do admit it was a grievous mistake.”
BBeat: Claudia Robinson gets key endorsements
BBeat: John Curcio to be honored at Innocence Project bash
*DBR: This Drug Court Judge Is Going To Rehab* (4/3)
The (JQC) would discuss the judge's willingness to enter a contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance Inc., a Pompano Beach-based nonprofit formed by Florida Supreme Court mandate to identify and assist attorneys with substance abuse, mental health and other disorders.
*SS: Manager and analyst at Broward crime lab resign * (4/3)
BSO CRIME LAB CANNABIS TESTING PROTOCOL
Evidence Before Testing:
Evidence After Testing:
(positive for cannabinoids if no one
remembers to fill out the lab report)
Coming Soon - More Corruption!
A BSO Crime Lab rep just told us Jim Ongley, former Director, and Randy Hilliard, former chemist, are "retired" as of last Friday.
No info on who the new boss is. We'll be sure to follow-up on that issue, and as to why so many drug cases are stacked up for testing. As everyone knows, lots of folks on no bond VOP holds are being cut loose at the 40 day mark when new law drug allegations are the violation, since lots of new drug arrests in general have been delayed for case filing purposes because lab results aren't available. Obviously some kind of overhaul in the wake of the recent Kelli McDonald scandal is underway, so stay tuned for more info.
Lastly, thanks to "Anonymous" for posting the tip on Ongley and Hilliard under GETTING FUNCKY. And if you also want to leave a tidbit, that's the way to do it, since the Anonymous Tip Box stopped working years ago.
DBR: Get high on Elijah Williams' mind
Diversity in Broward catches a break: judge maker Bill Scherer is a Judicial Diversity Task Force member!
Check out all the members of the Florida Bar's newly created Judicial Diversity Panel below. These are the folks who really can make a big difference over the next couple months while Ed Merrigan's county seat is filled.
From The Florida Bar News:
" ... The President’s Task Force to Study the Enhancement of Diversity on the Bench and the Judicial Nominating Commissions will work to determine why diverse candidates are not applying for appointment to the JNCs or for judgeships ... "
Here are all of the judicial diversity warriors making up the task force:
Frank P. Scruggs II; Cynthia G. Angelos ; Robert A. Butterworth; Cassandra Larkin Denmark ; Linda Bond Edwards; Hubert L. Grimes ; Paul C. Huck Jr; Corali Lopez-Castro ; William R. Scherer; William J. Schifino ; Robert Vaughan .
And here is some interesting language from the statute governing JNC's, which really should be applied criteria for actual judicial appointments as well:
" ... (4) In making an appointment, the Governor shall seek to ensure that, to the extent possible, the membership of the (JNC) reflects the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, as well as the geographic distribution, of the population within the territorial jurisdiction of the court for which nominations will be considered ... "
Your local JNC Members, who, like the Judicial Diversity Task Forcers, need to hear from everyone about the lack of diversity in the 17th:
Jamie Finizio-Bascombe; D. David Keller; William G. McCormick; Zachariah P. Zachariah Jr.; Georgette Sosa Douglass; Fred E. Karlinsky; Kevin P. Tynan; Belinda M. Keiser; Terrence Patrick O'Connor.
Now check out the list of nearby old timers looking to keep their judicial tickets current. They say comments on fitness are encouraged, deadline April 15th. The senior judges:
Review Board Four (Judge Dorian K. Damoorgian, Chair, 561-242-2033): Nelson E. Bailey, Fred J. Berman, William A. Bollinger, Eli Breger, Richard B. Burk, Miette K. Burnstein, Marc A. Cianca, Roger B. Colton, Barry E. Goldstein, Howard H. Harrison, Jr., Kathleen D. Ireland, Phyllis Williams Kotey, Joel T. Lazarus, Susan Lubitz, James W. Midelis, George A. Shahood, Steven G. Shutter, William R. Slaughter, II, Kenneth D. Stern, and Barry J. Stone.
Lastly, a recipe for banana bread:
Three or four ripe bananas, smashed; 1/3 cup melted butter; 1 cup sugar; 1 egg, beaten; 1 teaspoon vanilla; 1 teaspoon baking soda; Pinch of salt; 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack.
SS: DUI guilty verdict challenged by Bogenschutz
Bob Norman drops in on Stu Rosenfeldt
The Captain on some interesting CJ Bills
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 hard to pin it on the JNC and Scott if qualified minority applicants don't apply. Sure, the "why bother, it's all fixed" argument is understandable, as is the fact talented Black private sector lawyers typically top a judicial salary within a year or two of finishing law school. But it's not called public service for nothing, and the community's need for Black judges couldn't be more glaring. The point is qualified minority lawyers need to put in for Ed Merrigan's county seat, if only to see what kind of claptrap the JNC or Scott come up with to deny the community comes second when it comes to picking judges. Exposure is a powerful tool, and it may fix the problem going forward, at least to a degree. And who knows, they may surprise everyone and do the right thing, even if the applicant isn't married or otherwise related to a judge or political boss. So spread the word, as this one may be attainable for all the right reasons, for a change ...
Relapse is part of Rehab ... and everyone knows it, except perhaps Peter Weinstein. His decision to leave a vulnerable and suffering Gisele Pollack on the criminal bench has backfired big time, following last week's much talked about second public benching of Broward's misdemeanor drug court judge. The details will be emerging shortly, suffice it to say Weinstein's leadership is once again being called into question. As we told Bob Norman a few months back, allowing Gisele to pass judgment on drug users while battling her own demons is a real credibility buster, and now, unfortunately, if reports of wildly erratic behavior are true, seemingly a recovery killer too.
Let's face it. Weinstein isn't the first chief judge to cater to the whims of his voting subjects. He also isn't the first to promote an image of a strong judiciary at all costs, even if the tactic has proven to almost always make things worse in the end. But this one seemed like an easy call to make, and a lot of people aren't happy about the way the whole thing was handled.
But hey, we're here to help. A bunch of calls were placed on Friday to the Florida Bar, since substance abuse issues in the workplace are nothing new to a body governing nearly 100,000 stressed out souls. It turns out there's an agency called Florida Lawyers Assistance, based right here in Pompano, which was created in response to a Florida Supreme Court mandate to help lawyers and salvage legal careers. Bar reps put us in touch with Michael Cohen, the Executive Director, who gave us the rundown of options for balancing rehabilitation with protecting the public, such as behavior contracts, random testing, monitoring, and meetings, with the threat of discipline for those that don't take things seriously. Interestingly, Cohen also stated the JQC has been in contact in recent months, although he has no insight into what the secretive judge protectors are thinking about.
So stay tuned. There's light at the end of the tunnel, as soon as Weinstein and the JQC start treating judges just like everybody else ...
JAABLOG Movement - Sandy Perlman to vacated civil O'Connor, Cindy Imperato to vacated foreclosure Perlman, Barry Stone to vacated foreclosure Imperato, and either Liz Scherer or Ed Merrigan to vacated criminal Stone. If Scherer gets Imperato's old criminal division (FJ), then Merrigan would go to vacated Scherer dependency. None of this is anywhere near official of course, but we're told Imperato is moving her office from the North Wing to the old courthouse in May, meaning her desired return to criminal may not be so imminent. Additionally, there are whispers that some veterans want out of criminal, so there may be more openings soon. In any event, as of Friday there was still some confusion as to who is getting stuck in dependency. Since Stacy Ross seemed to get seniority credit for being a county judge, some are wondering if Merrigan will also get special consideration, in addition to his already helming Veteran's Court, which deals with circuit felony issues. In the old days Scherer would have had her choice of assignment, particularly after dedicated and lengthy service in the grueling dependency court. But since politics play a very important role in this judicial administration, we're told it's still a wait and see ...
Additional FDMC confirmations - John Howes, who didn't return a call before deadline, is a member of the First Degree Murder Club, as is judicial candidate Dennis Bailey. We're still looking for a working phone number for Tom Gallagher, so in the meantime drop a comment concerning anyone else you think we need to contact ...
Meet Melissa Donoho
SS: Merrigan appointed to circuit judgeship
Bob Norman: Streitfeld/Trump coziness could lead to new trial
How terribly strange to be 70 ...
Coming Soon - Hangin' around with Bobby Diaz
Bob Norman on Gisele Pollack
Fred Berman takes over Robinson.
John Fry back to North, for now ...
Off and running - Gene Pettis and Howard Finkelstein are pulling together as a team. As previously reported, the President of the Florida Bar requested something in writing from Broward's Public Defender concerning the wildly disproportionate rates of minority occupancy in the State's jails and prisons due to non-violent crimes, and boy did he get it. Finkelstein's letter, found here,** went out on March 4th, as first reported by Buddy Nevins.
Pettis, who was traveling last week, caught up with us today. He's already spoken to Miami's David Rothman, Chair-elect of the Bar's Criminal Law Section, who Gene says immediately agreed "there's a problem". Finkelstein's letter will shortly be in all the Section members' hands, with the goal of raising the issues together with informed suggestions to the Board of Governors.
Here's what else Gene had to say:
We're looking for a solution, or at a minimum, improvement in the system. It's obviously an issue, there's no question, not a lot of debate. Look at the demographics, the types of infractions getting people into jail. Attorney General Holder's position is enlightening, and I am looking forward to those that are experts in that arena to give us some guidance on the problems at hand. This is what needs to be done.
So there you have it. As Gene says, this isn't rocket science. The Drug War is a dismal failure even to casual observers, while a tremendous human price is still being exacted on a daily basis in our most vulnerable communities. Certainly most prosecutors and judges are sick of it too, but until an official body like the legislature or the Bar supports them, they will unfortunately almost always enforce the status quo. And that's why this is such a big deal. A blue ribbon panel of prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges making up the Bar's Criminal Law Section is being asked by their president to take notice of the sick elephant in the room, with the chance to make a real difference on a statewide basis, and perhaps nationally as well. Quite simply, it's unprecedented, and with Republicans finally joining the call for reform, the future is brighter than it's ever been.
Definitely a wait, see, and pray the mainstream media takes notice ...
** The Public Defender also sent Chief Frank Adderley this letter back in February, regarding the legal harassment of Fort Lauderdale's African-American citizenry.
E-Filing fun - E-Filing could be a real boon to defense attorneys, considering police reports should be available online all over the State shortly. Essentially, if Public Defenders or FACDL can maintain public databases of PC Affidavits, A-Forms, or whatever you want to call them sorted by author and crime, testilying could be seriously curtailed at nearly every stage of the proceedings. Most lawyers can tell you stories about how they wished they had a stack of a particular cop's police reports to impeach with, and now that the State is scanning them all in, it may be possible. In the future you may be able to diffuse charges by detecting disturbing patterns, or by roughing up stubborn subjects by confronting them with piles of their own work, and saying things like this:
I just handed you your last fifty DUI arrest reports, and on every one of them, you wrote "watery, bloodshot eyes, and an odor of an alcoholic beverage", isn't that correct?
I just handed you your last fifty BatLeo arrest reports where the Defendant was injured, and on every one of them, you wrote "the Defendant fell and sustained his injuries while being taken into custody", isn't that correct?
You get the point. They may be able to keep cameras out of police cars, but they can't keep the reports offline. So let's get busy ...
Reset! - Cindy Imperato's DUI up in Palm Beach has been continued to April 14th for case disposition before Mark Eissey. In the meantime, her son's DUI arrest is still showing "Unfiled" on the Broward Clerk's website, nearly two months later ...
Whose job is it anyway? - calculating time served has traditionally been the Clerk's job. They are the keepers of the record, after all, and have been doing a great job of it for as long as anyone can remember. Still, in David Haimes' division, it's up to the lawyers to figure out. Accordingly, after a recent trip to 7900, we naturally got to wondering, just whose job is it anyway? Howard Forman promised yesterday to give us an answer soon, so stay tuned ...
Breaking Big - click here for Slate's interview with Pittsburgh attorney Daniel Muessig, the man behind the Thanks Dan! video. Did I mention I'm Jewish?
Coming Soon - Joel Lazarus to weekend First Appearances?; More RRA attorneys going down, and soon?
SS: Russell Williams hands Lynn Rosenthal an election year hot potato
Bob Norman: update on "Perry's Law"
Bob Norman: Surprise, Trump gets special treatment at Broward Courthouse
SS: Streitfeld channels Larry Seidlin
SS: BSO Crime Lab Scandal
SS: Man pleads guilty to Satz threat on JAABLOG
"Rant-sites", JAABLOG, and you ...
Gainesville Sun: Man urinated on strangers near UF campus
Tampa Tribune: Something Happened To Me Yesterday ...
Law 360: Courts Wade Through Murky World Of Online Defamation
USA Today: $3.5 million in Colorado pot revenue for January
Herald: Despite false trial testimony, judge upholds 24-year sentence
SS: Broward Drug Court Judge Towbin-Singer honors highway hero
1.) GOLD WATCH TIME - make sure to drop by the North Wing 7th Floor conference room FRIDAY, February 28th, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, to say bon voyage to Denise Goodsmith. After more than eleven years working with Andy Siegel, and a couple more decades JA'ing before that, Denise is calling it quits. A hearty well done, but not without a bit of sadness. As any lawyer or staffer will tell you, it was always a pleasure dealing with a team player like Denise. Congrats!; 2.) Coming Soon - senior judge Fred Berman?; 3.) Who knew? A young Buddy Nevins with a circa 1966 Keith Richards. Before BrowardBeat.com, and before the Sun Sentinel, there was Teen Life Magazine, and a largely unseen stash of photos of Buddy with leaders of the 1960's cultural renaissance; 4.) Mitch Polay and accused Dunkin' Donuts killer James Herard. This was shortly after Kevin Kulik pulled rank. Herard is pushing Polay to continue voir dire with a new penalty phase lawyer, while Mitch knows better ...
Coming Soon - Randy Tundidor v. Imperato update; Dear Mr. Pettis & Chief Adderley; Lowly judges not invited to Topping Ceremony ...
SS: Tonya Alanez goes to Pakistan
Herald: Tampa lawmaker tackles issue of DL Drug suspensions
PB Post - Marni Bryson's tough talk
SS: 4th DCA in the house
Gainesville Sun - JQC opens up on Andy Decker
JQC Decker documents
Bob Norman video starring Norm Kent
Bob Norman video starring Eric Rudenberg & Mike Glasser
Grimm - Broward PDO v. DJJ
Building the perfect beast ...
The Fourth DCA is in the house TODAY, February 27th, starting at 1:30 PM in Room 416. The schedule is here.
Come root for the home team, and don't forget to bring a copy of your favorite opinion for autographing afterwards.
Good from Bad - maybe the Florida Bar isn't so bad after all. Today Bar President Eugene Pettis hosted a meeting concerning selective enforcement of the drug laws over at his place, with Howard Finkelstein appearing by phone.
It came about after a chance encounter at the West Palm Beach courthouse a few weeks back. Pettis good naturedly took our ribbing over not returning calls during Bar v. Blog concerning the failed Drug War, and then quickly agreed to set today's meeting. It wasn't stated, but considering the persecution was over, and the incredible importance of the subject matter, saying yes must have been easy. A quick call to the Public Defender confirmed his participation, and it was off to the races.
The meeting was premised on trying to find a role for the Bar, whose logo proudly boasts "Protecting Rights, Pursuing Justice ... ", in equaling the lop-sided scales of criminal justice. Drug use and sales are as prevalent in affluent America as in low-income America, but minorities are wildly over-represented in courthouses, jails and prisons everywhere. It's a national and statewide problem, and as Finkelstein pointed out, even the Feds are doing something about it. Why, we asked, can't the Bar?
The answer was a qualified we can. Pettis patiently explained that because the Florida Bar is a unified bar with compulsory membership and dues, neither the president nor anyone else can push the organization anywhere near the line which might cross into ideological territory. Everything must fall under "the Keller umbrella". Employing an example Pettis definitely didn't use, a bunch of us may hate what's going on in the criminal courts, while others like things just the way they are. And if that's the case, the Bar can't be directed to get involved. Got that?
But there is a middle ground. Pettis is eager to "initiate and raise the dialogue" by asking the Bar's Criminal Law Section ("CJ Section") to discuss the elephant in the room. He's asked for a request in writing from Finkelstein, who has agreed to provide the data he's assembled concerning Walking While Black, Biking While Black, and of course Driving While Black. The CJ Section can then be queried whether Florida is answering Attorney General Eric Holder's call to address important issues of fairness in the state's criminal courts, and to do all that is possible within the rules and guidelines of the Bar to suggest improvements.
"I was present in San Francisco last August when Attorney General Holder rolled out his guidelines," Pettis said.
"We all move around as if these and other problems don't exist, like graduation rates. We go about our lives as if everything is well. But I would like to pull together a dialogue on a community and statewide basis to collectively do a better job."
So there you have it. A great start, considering this is possibly the first time a state Bar president has agreed to get involved with such hot button issues. Expect things to move quickly, since everyone is aware Pettis' term ends in June. And in the meantime, we'll be sure to follow-up with Greg Coleman, the president-elect. This is one ball that definitely needs to keep rolling ...
Not a law firm ...
Gold, Spechler & Sweetapple - everyone is talking about Friday's Sun Sentinel article detailing the battle for the beach, pitting the Ticket Clinic's Mark Gold, former judge Jay Spechler, and Laura Watson's other go-to-guy Robert Sweetapple against the city of Deerfield Beach.
Apparently it all started many years ago, but the trio isn't letting city hall get them down. They're hosting private parties and generally making the most of their unique situation, while city officials are not so quietly trying to figure out what to do.
"It's nice to be able to fight for your rights and have fun at the same time," Spechler says, although it was hard to hear exactly what he was saying, given the whooping and hollering in the background, and what sounded like the thwak of a beach ball being launched into orbit. Unfortunately, signal was lost before we could get confirmation regarding the Beach Boys being booked for July 4th festivities, so stay tuned for all further developments ...
a teenage symphony to God ...
2014 Gulkin Award Winner Hilly Moldof
with daughters/presenters Kelsey and Meeghan
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19th @ 5:30 PM
BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
BACDL Feb Newsletter - Moldof Interview
Thanks, Buddy - it seems everyone around the courthouse really enjoyed BrowardBeat's take on Cohen v. Blog, at least from the feedback we got. And while critics are correct that the high road wasn't taken by either party before things spun out of control, absolutely everyone is wondering what could have prompted the other guy to cross into the creep zone. That being said, we're satisfied this is over,* even if some of you still persist in spreading wholesale lies regarding a certain somebody being called "a derogatory name for a gay that starts with an F". It never happened, of course, and while Mr.Cohen's distant relationship with the truth in this area may be infuriating, it goes with the territory of being a self-appointed cyber finger-pointer. Besides, it hasn't been of any concern to friends, while others we've never met need only look back over the years of blogging to see that JAABLOG's core message of equality and justice for all has never wavered. And so, without further ado, on with the show! ...
* Although JAABLOG's polygraph challenge to Cohen remains open ad infinitum.
Gardiner Reply Brief - here is the Amended Answer Brief of Respondent, filed by Dave Bogenschutz on January 23rd. It's a 52 page unmitigated Mitigation-Fest, with plenty of cites to the trial transcript. In other words, it's a complete bore, since so many of Gardiner's celebrity witnesses were left unmolested by Bar prosecutors. Whatever. Hopefully the Supreme Court rules soon, considering everything is filed. Check out the docket here, and read all the documents filed in SC11-2311 here.
DBR: Judge Watson's Attorney Warns JQC That It's Reminiscent Of KGB