WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Monday, June 19, 2017

NEW LAWS IN FLORIDA & JNC STAYS VERY BUSY .......

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

NEW LAWS IN FLORIDA .....

GOVERNOR SCOTT STAYS BUSY SIGNING BILLS INTO LAW .....

SB 118 - CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS:

Any person or entity engaged in the business of publishing through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium or otherwise disseminating arrest booking photographs of persons who have previously been arrested may not solicit or accept a fee or other form of payment to remove the photographs. 
 
To read the new law, go here.
 
SB 494 - COMPENSATION OF VICTIMS OF WRONGFUL INCARCERATION:
 
Revising the circumstances under which a person is disqualified from receiving compensation under the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act; specifying that a wrongfully incarcerated person who commits no more than one felony that is not a violent felony, rather than a felony law violation, which results in revocation of parole or community supervision is eligible for compensation, etc
 
To read the new law, go here
 
SB 312 - EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION
 
The “Eyewitness Identification Reform Act”; requiring state, county, municipal, or other law enforcement agencies that conduct lineups to follow specified procedures; requiring the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to create educational materials and provide training programs on how to conduct lineups, etc.
 
To read the new law, go here
 
SB 128 - SELF-DEFENSE IMMUNITY
 
This bill amends the statute to require the State, rather than the Defendant, to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant did not use force lawfully.
 
To read the new law, go here
 
SB 1052 - JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE
 
This bill clarifies "justifiable use of force laws" and expands the Castle Doctrine to include any residence a person has a right to be in.
 
To read the new law, go here.
 
SO, YOU WANT TO BE A CIRCUIT/COUNTY COURT JUDGE .......
 
The 11th Circuit JNC has met and voted to send 12 names to Governor Scott to fill vacancies resulting from the elevation of County Court Judges' Judge Victoria del Pino and Jason Dimitris to the Circuit Court.  The Governor has 60 days to choose two names from the list, which includes:
 
Milena Abreu    
Ramiro Christen Areces
Karl S.H. Brown
Christina Marie DiRaimondo
Renatha Francis
Peter Heller
Elijah A. Levitt
Joseph J. Mansfield
Luis Perez-Medina
Gordon Charles Murray, Sr.
Julie Harris Nelson
Steven G. Paulson
 
 
The JNC has also announced two Circuit Court vacancies due to the elevation of Judge Norma Lindsey to the 3rd DCA and the resignation of Circuit Judge Gisela Cardonne Ely.  The deadline to submit your application to the JNC is July 17, 2017.
 
CAPTAIN OUT .......
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

REGJB REGULAR INDICTED

Sam Konell, a REGJB regular has been indicted for health care fraud. 

Article here. 

Sorry for slow blogging. In trial. 
It's hot here in Phoenix...but not for us...just the AUSAs.

From the DOJ press release:


The indictment alleges that from approximately January 2006 through June 2012, Konell accepted kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries to Greater Miami Behavioral Healthcare Center, Inc. (Greater Miami) to serve as patients so that Greater Miami could bill Medicare for mental health treatment purportedly provided to those beneficiaries. The indictment further alleges that Konell knew that the beneficiaries he referred to Greater Miami did not need, qualify for nor receive such treatment. In addition, the indictment alleges that Konell and co-conspirators took steps to disguise the true nature of the bribes and kickbacks Greater Miami paid to Konell and other patient brokers.


From occupied America, and on a break in a federal court where WE are fighting the power....fight the power!

Friday, June 09, 2017

THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE

The Miami legal community lost two very different lawyers this week. 
Naphtali Wacks was murdered by a reckless driver who rammed his car into the back of Wacks' car as he drove to work. 

We can't help but think that Naphtali woke up like he did any other day, performed his morning ablutions, got into his car, and drove to work, not realizing that his days were numbered. Of course there is the denial of this tragedy. "If he had only lingered over his coffee five minutes longer...If he hadn't made that light on the way to causeway he would have been delayed five minutes and wouldn't have crossed paths with the man who killed him."

But fate had other plans, and Naphtali's life crossed paths literally with a man who had literal regard for human life, and Naphtali lost his life in a senseless tragic accident. 

Friday morning came work that civil super-star lawyer Ervin Gonzalez had committed suicide. Mr. Gonzalez is the second high profile lawyer in Miami to take his own life recently. It seems like only yesterday when Richard Sharpstein made that same, tragic decision. 
It was just a few weeks ago that Attorney Ken White died suddenly of a cardiac event.

Some lived and wanted to die. Some died, wanting to live. 
And life for us plods on. 

All of these men had much to live for. And yet they are gone. Forever. Death brooks no appeals. There is no waiver. The judgment is final and eternal and irreversible. 

We get up every day and yet some of us are living our last day and don't know it. 

What we take for granted has a fragility that we mask behind our daily denial of the inevitable. 

There is no real end to this dark billet-doux. Just the musings of an older, rumpled, exceptional trial lawyer, who on this rainy day, is a bit morose about life and its fragility. 

From Occupied America....Affirm Life.  

Monday, June 05, 2017

NAPHTALI WACKS HAS PASSED AWAY

Naphtali Wacks passed away Saturday from injuries he sustained in a criminal hit-and-run event last week.  He was buried Sunday. 

Born In September, 1959, he was 57 years old.  Naphtali was part of what made our small courthouse and legal community fascinating and unique. He will be missed. 

May his name be a blessing and may he rest in peace.


Sunday, June 04, 2017

THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Seventy-five years ago today, Sunday, June 4, 1942, exactly six months from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, American Naval Aviators changed history and saved the world.

The US had broken the Japanese code.  Admiral Nimitz, who at the direction of Roosevelt had taken over from Admiral Husband Kimmel at Pearl, found himself commanding a Pacific fleet with most of it at the bottom of Pearl Harbour. Except for the aircraft carriers, Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet, Saratoga, and Lexington although On June 4, the Lex had been sunk a month before at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Yorktown was severely damaged in the same battle, trailing a ten mile oil slick as she limped into Pearl. Needing three months for repair, Nimitz ordered all hands on deck and 1400 welders descended on the Yorktown and had her back out steaming for Midway three days later.

The Japanese sent six carriers to Midway, led by Admiral Yamamoto on his flagship, the largest battleship in the world. Yamamoto wanted to lure the American carriers into a trap, finish them off, and then the entire Pacific and west coast of the United States would be vulnerable to the mighty Japanese Navy.

But Nimitz put all his eggs in the basket of Cmdr. Joe Rochefort, a cranky, brilliant analyst who after working weeks non-stop, was sure he was reading Yamamoto's mail. He knew the order of battle, and so did Nimitz and that gave the Americans an opening.

Nimitz's best fighting Admiral- Bull Halsey was out -sick with shingles- and he was replaced by Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance, who had never commanded carriers in Battle. Spruance sailed with the Hornet and Enterprise and Rear Admiral Jack Fletcher was on the damaged Yorktown. But Nimitz had a plan- he would use the landing strip at Midway as a fourth carrier. Loaded with bombers waiting to attack Yamamoto.

The issue was who could find who first? Nimitz had some advantages, knowing from the Japanese code that Yamamoto had split his force into four task forces, and knowing where the Japanese would be searching, Nimitz got his carriers into place before the Japanese went searching for them. The Japanese planned to lure the carriers AFTER attacking Midway, but Spruance and Fletcher were already in place.

And then it came down to the men in the planes. Wave after wave of American Torpedo bombers found the Japanese carriers, and almost all of them were shot down. A terrible loss of young, brave men. But Nimitz had more planes than Yamamoto was expecting, and the waves of American Torpedo Bomber Aviators took their toll on the Japanese carriers in terms of fighting them off. Men like Cmdr Duffy Waldron and Ensign George Gay are little remembered today, but they flew into battle without fighter escort, desperate to inflict damage on the Japanese carriers. All were shot down and only Ensign Gay survived. But the tide was about to turn.

As Admiral Nagumo scrambled his fighters to fight off wave after wave of American Torpedo bombers - none of whom scored a hit, Nagumo was in a constant dance of landing fighters, refueling them, and also coordinating the arming of his bombers all while trying to get the fighters in the air with the bombers to launch a coordinated strike.

Then Nagumo's luck ran out.

Enter Cmdr. Wade McClusky, and his two squadrons of dive bombers from the Enterprise.  McClusky's bombers were almost out of fuel for the return trip. But he knew the Japanese were nearby. And again luck or fate intervened. McClusky spotted the destroyer Arashi racing for the fleet. It had just spent an hour depth charging the US Submarine Nautilus that had attacked the Japanese Battleship Kirishima. If the Nautilus doesn't attack Kirishima, the Arashi doesn't get delayed, and Cmdr. McClusky doesn't see it returning to the fleet. But all of that happened. And, placing his men and planes at risk of running out of fuel, McClusky follows the Arashi and comes upon four Japanese carriers, all without air cover, their decks full of planes being refueled and re-armed after fighting off waves of fruitless American Torpedo bomber attacks.

As McClusky approached with his squadrons from the Enterprise from the Southwest, one squadron from the repaired led by Cmdr Max Leslie off the Yorktown - the carrier the Japanese were never expecting to be in service after Coral Sea- approached from the Northeast. All three squadrons arrived over the unprotected Japanese carriers at the same time.

In the space of an hour- 10:20 am local time to 11:20 am, one could argue the War in the Pacific was won by brave American Naval Aviators whose names have faded into history.

The Japanese carrier Kaga sustained five direct hits, the carrier Akagi was hit once by a bomb dropped by Lt. Cmdr Best, and it was a fatal blow, landing in the blow deck flight deck among the fuel and ammunition.

Now Cmdr. Max Leslie and his group from the Yorktown arrived and found the Japanese carrier Soryu. Leslie and some of his men didn't have bombs as they dove. A faulty switch dropped them several minutes before battle. But Leslie and some of his other pilots dove on the Soryu anyway, taking anti-aircraft away from other planes that had bombs, and strafing the carrier and setting in on fire.

Now three carriers were ablaze and sinking. The sole functioning Japanese carrier Hiryu launched its planes against the Yorktown, striking it several times.  But the old girl had one last trick up her sleeve. Late in the afternoon, a Yorktown scout plane found the Hiryu, and bomber squadrons from the Enterprise, comprising planes that had been recovered from all US Carriers launched one last time upon the orders of Admiral Spruance.  Spruance was no Halsey, but he had his blood up and he knew he had the Japanese on the ropes. A more cautious admiral may have retreated with three Japanese Carriers sunk, but Spruance went for the kill shot. His planes found the Hiryu, and fought through fighter cover and hit her four or five times and she was done.

As the sun began to set in the Pacific on June 4, 1942, the world had changed because of men like Nimitz and Spruance and Fletcher and the bravery of Aviators like McClusky, Gay, and Duffy Waldron.
Never again would the empire of Japan be on the offensive in the Pacific. Now Japan would fight a defensive battle as Nimitz from the sea and MacArthur from the land tightened the noose around the Empire's neck.

We owe these men- all since passed on either in battle or after a well earned retirement- our freedom. Our country exists today because Nimitz trusted Cmdr. Rochefort; because Spruance and Fletcher trusted their Aviators; because the Captain of a US Sub attacked a Japanese Battleship, and Cmdr. McClusky trusted his gut and followed a ship to the entire Japanese carrier fleet. We are free because Cmdr. Max Leslie attacked and dove on  a carrier into enemy fire without a bomb, drawing fire allowing his men to drop their bombs and sink the Soryu.

One day- June 4, 1942- and a few brave men- changed a war and altered the course of history.

May the good lord continue to bless our country- As General Patton once remarked- "I don't mourn their death, but I thank God that such men lived."

From Occupied America, where the current occupant of the White House has no idea what today means, Fight the Power! Fight it for Nimitz, and Wade McClusky and Max Leslie and all those brave men who died so that we may live.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

DIARY OF A MAD TOURETTE SUFFERER

Dear Diary,
What a great amazing covfefe week! 
But for this covfefe relapse of my tourettes covfefe covfefe It would have been perfect. 

Went to Europe and the Middle East and also Israel. 

Met the covfefe Pope. 

Told the president covfefe of Germany that she was covfefe covfefee. 

Gonna fix global covfefe warming. I'm so much smarter than the generals on this covfefe problem. 
It's so covfefe simple. Air Conditioning! Covfefe. 
Start with the antarctic, you know, the north pole area. Roll out some covfefe ginourmous AC units. Plug em in and set them to 40. That will bring down the temp. 

Then to Saudi Arabia. I have to admit it was warmer there than I realized. But build some ACs (make america great covfefe again) in Tennessee and Detroit. Ship em to  Zimbabwe Arabia, and turn them on. End of problem. I'm a covfefe hero.  Withdraw from the Paris accords. Who makes a treaty in Italy anyway covfefe?  All the Italians do is drink that tiny coffee covfefe and make pizza. What do they know about global warming? 

Final piece of the puzzle. Everyone with AC in their house or car opens the door for an hour a day. AC your neighborhood. It's going to be amazing. No one's ever seen an idea like this. 
Memo to self: Invest in room heaters company. It's going to be real cold real soon. 

Back home. Tried to fire the FBI guy, but realized I don't covfefe have one yet. So I'm adding Chris covfefe Christy to the list. Hire em. Fire em. Made a living on TV that way. 

Bestest week ever. Until next week. 

Covfefe. 


Thursday, June 01, 2017

NAPHTALI WACKS CLINGS TO LIFE

Courtesy of ace Herald reporter David Ovalle, comes this tragic story here of local REGJB regular Naphtali Wacks who lies in a hospital, grievously injured on the way to court this week by a Miami-Beach hit and run driver. 

Naphtali always cut a unique figure in the REGJB, with bright orange hair, and a 100 watt smile to match. He is a good guy. 

Lets all pause a minute and meditate and send Naphtali good and healing thoughts.