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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CARDONA CLOSINGS TODAY

Closing arguments are taking place as we write this in the Cardona case. 
First up: Reid Ruben for the state. Don't miss it. He's the best they have. 

Then the defense, and we're guessing rebuttal after lunch. 

Millenial Me will be sending us updates and we will post as we have time. 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

OY VEY

Roy Moore's wife wants you to know she knows Jews. She likes Jews. Some of her best friends are Jews and they even have a .....(steady now) A JEW LAWYER (gasp!!!)




In response the only thing that comes to mind is that we know Judges. Some of our friends are Judges. We have even had a drink with a ....judge.

From Donald Trump and Roy Moore's Occupied America, where they even know some black fellas and some jews, Fight the Power!

Monday, December 11, 2017

CARDONA TAKES THE STAND!

Hey, it's the girl-blogger, and wow was today amazing in court! Ana Cardona testified and it was as tension filled a courtroom drama as you're ever going to see. 

"You've had 27 years to come up with your story" shot Reid Ruben at Ana Maria Cardona, and thus began a memorable cross examination of one of the most notorious defendants in recent Miami-Dade History. 

Earlier in the day Cardona finished her direct testimony under the patient questioning of PD Manny Alvarez.  She finished her testimony in dramatic fashion- nearly screaming and twice saying that "Olivia Gonzalez Mendoza" killed her son in response to Manny's last question if she killed her son. 

Cardona took the stand Monday morning to a courtroom packed with prosecutors, PDs and Judges. The tension was thick when Cardona took the stand and took the jury through her life history, coming from Mariel, Cuba, and her three children.  Cardona testified she was homeless after Lazaro's father died and she was evicted,  and Olivia Gonzalez-the woman the defense blames as the killer- forced her into a sexual relationship in exchange for housing and food. This trial has all the makings of a tragic movie. 

Cardona became unhinged as she testified, forcing Judge De La O to call sidebar after sidebar and once he instructed the interpreter to interrupt Cardona because the interpreter couldn't keep up with all she was saying. Also- some unusual moments where Judge De La O had to correct the interpreter's translation of Cardona's testimony in Spanish. I've never seen that before in my admittedly limited trial experience, but I know the Judges watching are all admiring the way De La O is handling this very challenging moment. Cardona speaks Spanish so fast that interpreters are cycling in and out because she is tiring them out. Unbelievable. 

It was clear to most of us in gallery that Reid Ruben was going to have a tough time because  Cardona was mostly uncontrollable, and that's what in fact happened. 
Reid Ruben went hard at Cardona, mocking her claim that "Olivia killed my son" and asked her if she wanted to tell the jury that again? So Cardona did- crying out "Olivia Gonzalez killed my son."

Cardona also shouted out to Ruben that he could call Olivia Gonzalez to court and ask her himself. Point to Cardona on that one. I've been wondering about that and some of the other lawyers told me that Olivia Gonzalez is out of prison and in Miami and that for some reason neither side wants to call her. Weird. It seems to me that the defense should have called her, but maybe they want her to be the boogey-man in the jurors eyes. The jurors are going to hold the fact that Olivia Gonzalez was not called against somebody and I think Cardona put the prosecution on the defensive on that one.  

At times Mr. Ruben shouted at Cardona and she shouted back at him and both the interpreter and court reporter became flustered and add to that the defense team on their feet objecting, and this was courtroom theatrics at their best and De La O did a wonderful job keeping control. 

Cardona managed to claim she turned down a plea offer and that she'd been to death row several times and that she even volunteered to go. All of these exchanges caused Judge De La O to interrupt and call for sidebars to regain control of the testimony. 

It was a dramatic move to call Cardona to the witness stand, but if you think about it- the PDs made the right move. Cardona is no longer facing the death penalty and she really has nothing to lose. But this was a move Reid Ruben was ready for, He had her taped statement ready to go, as well as pictures of Cardona with Olivia Gonzalez in Orlando, smiling, after the murder. Reid Ruben even had medical records showing Cardona was using cocaine when she gave birth to her son Lazaro. This is one prepared dude. 

I don't think this case is a slam dunk. But it's going to very very hard for jurors to vote not guilty because of the tragedy of this case. The late Dr. Hyma, a Dade ME, had his testimony read back in court today and it was very very disturbing. This was a child that was abused before he was killed.

Thanks for letting the girl blog Rumpole. 
Millennial Me. 









Sunday, December 10, 2017

HO HO HO

Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada just named a woman to Canada's Supreme Court. 
Is it me, or do the Justices all look like Santa Claus? I mean, if you're Canada, and you're closer to the North Pole than the US, do you really want to dress your judges in Red Robes with white trim? Ho Ho Ho. 🎅


I'm going to miss Judge Ortiz. Rumpole reported Saturday that she has left the REGJB. She is such a class act. Always calm. Always knowledgeable and very fair.  Rumpole is loath to praise judges, but I am not and Judge Ortiz is a great one.

That new legal movie with Denzel Washington is a hot mess. It has no structure and its discombobulating. Skip it. 

Everyone is buzzing about whether or not Cardona will testify. I can't wait and I'll be lurking around the courtroom. And I won't miss closings for sure. But if Cardona testifies, I don't think she will be as easy to cross as people think, even for a great lawyer like Mr. Reid Ruben. 

Sometimes I really get into the mood for Italian food and then Miami disappoints. In New York or Chicago or Boston it seems like there's a good place every block or so. But in Miami we have to drive to a Carrabbas or something ridiculous and it stinks. And all of those places on Lincoln Road seem like rip-off joints. I hate walking down the street and being hustled by some woman in way- too-tight revealing clothes to walk into a restaurant. What are they thinking? Are they thinking that guys will eat there because they somehow believe that if they eat their the girl at the door will go out with them? Really?

Here's my analysis on Senator Franken.
The democratic senators think Roy Moore will win in Alabama. 
The democratic senators do not want to seat Roy Moore and if he is seated they want to immediately have him investigated and removed. 
In order to attack Moore, the democratic senators had to put their house in order and that meant they couldn't have Franken around at all. 
So Franken had to resign all because the democrats think Roy Moore will win. 
Sad. Franken had his faults but he was a good senator. 

I just watched the Ben Bradlee documentary this weekend. 
JFK while president had an affair with Bradlee's sister in law and also made a pass at Bradlee's first wife. 
Would the same democratic senators who forced Franken out have tried to impeach JFK?
Mary Pinchot Meyer was the woman JFK had an affair with. Her story is fascinating. She was married to a CIA officer. She was a serious artist. There is a JFK love letter to her, written on White House stationary that was kept by Evelyn Lincoln- Kennedy's secretary and auctioned a few years ago for $89,000.00. 
Pinchot-Meyer was murdered while she was walking one day. A man was arrested for the murder and tried and found not guilty. 
Her story is replete with late night rendezvous' with the President, and powerful CIA officers and an unsolved murder. 

I am literally starving myself half the time to make up for the extra calories I am eating at these holiday parties which now seem to be happening every day. I'm not sure it's worth it, but I don't want to deal with the depression of not fitting into my tight jeans. 

I am so caught up in this Cardona trial opera but I think it's proper that we all remind ourselves that an innocent little boy was killed and that is the real tragedy here. 

Was anyone else offended that Rumpole called me "the chick" in his poll?
LOL- he did it after checking with me because he wanted to see if people would raise a fuss and no one did. 😜

Rumpole is dope. 👍




Saturday, December 09, 2017

CARDONA TO WRAP UP AND JUDGES ON THE MOVE

The Cardona case moved along  this past week, with a read back of the late Dr. Hyma's testimony as the medical examiner on the case. Up Monday: Dr Death herself: Chief ME Emma Lew will also testify. It's worth a look for a young lawyer, so stop on by. The appearance of the ME on the stand often heralds the ending of the prosecution's case. Insiders mumble that the state may rest on Tuesday. The Defense could rest the following day, and uhho....closings Thursday and the much feared "Friday Verdict" that long time and careful readers of the blog know is one of the things Rumpole says the good defense lawyer should avoid at all costs. 

COMINGS AND GOINGS
Very quietly Judge Maria Ortiz, a long time fixture of DUIs and other misdemeanors on the Fifth Floor has left the REGJB replaced by veteran Judge Wendell Graham, who - and this is a rough guess, hasn't sat in the REGJB since the turn of the century or so. 

Judge Steven Millan will be a last minute addition to circuit movement, heading to Dependency. 


Judge Milton Hirsch gets a dream assignment, appointed to the Circuit Appellate division as an associate administrative judge along with Judge Monica Gordo.  If you find yourself appealing a county court case, your cites better be right, Blue Book Bristol Fashion, and you'd be wise to bone up on your classics, Shakespeare of course, decisions from the DC Circuit cira 1880's, Disraeli's thoughts on the common law, and of course, the Federalist Papers.  Familiarity with Locke wouldn't hurt either. There's a new sheriff in town and he thrives on brilliant legal obscure thoughts. Have fun. 

From occupied America, where any action on impure thoughts will bite you in your butt (except if you hold the highest office in the land) Fight The Power!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The President Can/ Cannot Be Charged With Obstruction

Here's a first: A blogger debate. 
Millennial Me will defend the position the president  committed obstruction of justice. Rumpole, as an intellectual exercise will take the other side. 
Rumpole goes first*:
R: The President is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Therefore, what he tells the FBI to do or not do, must be legal. Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus. When Trump fired Comey, he was within his rights to do so for reasons he does not need to explain since as President he is vested with power and knowledge of events that others do not have. As such, the courts cannot sit in judgment of his actions. 

MM: Nixon was going to be impeached for obstruction of justice based on his actions with the tapes and the firing of the special prosecutor. A president is not above the law. If he violates the law and then tries to hide his violation, he commits a crime. 

R: MM, being young and inexperienced has made my point. Nixon was going to be impeached- which is something that the Constitution provides for. Nixon was not going to be indicted for his actions in Wategate, which occurred before MM was born. Indeed, in the indictments that were issued in Watergate, Nixon was referred to as an "Unindicted co-conspirator".  Article I, section three of the  constitution specifically provides for removal of a President. Removal is by  impeachment, not indictment. The lack of direction by the Constitution provides, within the penumbra if you will- an implicit grant of immunity to a president for a criminal prosecution.  This is confirmed because Article I, section three goes on to state that the president, once impeached "shall be liable and subject to indictment, trial judgement, and punishment, according to law." This of course means that unless impeached, a President cannot be charged with a crime. 
If a President was indicted, and a Judge found that by virtue of Air Force One he was a risk of flight, and denied bail, then the President might have to run a war from a jail cell if we were attacked. This is ridiculous proposition. 
MM should try reading the Constitution instead of watching a video on Netflix or You Tube. 

MM: I get the last word. Rumpole is a bit old and perhaps his better days are behind him. The Constitution does not provide the President with immunity for crimes. Which is why the Constitution provides for removal for office for committing a crime, because a criminal prosecution or conviction doesn't otherwise provide for removal. And how could a president be investigated and removed for committing a crime if he can obstruct justice willy-nilly and stop the investigation? Just because the prosecutor didn't indict Nixon doesn't mean he couldn't have.  Under Rumpole's view the President could shoot someone in broad daylight, and unless he was impeached he could not be charged with a crime. And if the president had a large political majority, it is possible his party would not impeach him. We have a president, not a an emperor or king. The president in a democratic county cannot be above the law. End of discussion. 

Rumpole inquires: Who won? Take our poll. 

*Emails were exchanged between the bloggers so each blogger had the ability to review and respond to the other's argument. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

CARDONA CASE PLODDING ALONG

UPDATE: We are taking a lot of flack in the prior post for characterizing the prosecutor's opening as "with her voice quaking with emotion."
Blog comments call us sexist and also defend the prosecutor's opening, implying we were criticizing her opening. 
We did not intend to do either. You can review her opening here

A comment about her being emotional, in a case that is very emotional (the abusive death of a child) is fair, based on how she presented her opening- which in our opinion (which we never stated previously) was well done and professional. 

But we are open to a discussion on the matter- especially in this climate. Have we reached the point where we can only call a male lawyer's opening/closing "emotional" and that if we call a female lawyer's presentation "emotional" then we are sexist? We hope not. 

The Cardona case plods along, with lots of read backs of testimony with witnesses who are no longer available. 
Not a pleasant situation for either side to be in. 

On a different note, the Federalist Society (Motto: "We like Ayn Rand, we just don't read her philosophical writings because they are too complicated")  had a meeting/soiree last night (Tuesday), and every wanna be Federal Judge was present. Lawyers and Judges who have been nominated and Lawyers and Judges who want to be nominated. 

How soon until the litmus test for becoming a federal judge is whether they supported Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama? 

On that issue, when he was Judge Moore (a different shame for the legal community of Alabama) Moore wrote a screed in 2006 arguing that Representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, who took the oath of office with his hand on the Koran, should not be seated and allowed to serve. 

So as we sit here today:
Harass Women: Qualified to serve. 
Date Women under 18, and as young as 14 while an adult male: Qualified to serve. 

Be A Religious Muslim: Not Qualified to serve. 

Welcome to Donald Trump and Roy Moore's America, 2017, which is why we end every blog post with a plea to Fight the Power.