Saturday, January 20, 2018


The great Trump/Republican government shutdown of 2018 has begun. 
The Democrats blame Trump,  Russia , China, Ayn Rand, Trump, Twitter, Global Warming, George Bush, The federalist Society and Justice Gorsuch. 

The Republicans blame Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, Chuck Schumer, Barak Obama, North Korea, Chaing Kai-Shek, Julia Child, legalized Marijuana,  and Mister Rogers

We are not affected, for  the moment, by the shutdown and will continue to heroically blog through it all. 

Here are the official positions of each party:

The Republicans aver that the Democrats, sensing weakness, refused to approve a reasonable spending bill until the Republicans and Trump agreed to 1) Let all Mexicans who have criminal records into the United States with fast access to becoming citizens. Mexicans with sex crime priors should receive special treatment; 2) Agreed to a constitutional amendment making Sharia law the co-equal law of the land;3) Agreed to outlaw all restrooms for men and women, and order all public facilities to install only unisex restrooms and transgender rest rooms; 4) Agree to not pay military families until all members of Isis receive food stamps; and finally, to raise taxes on all Americans earning less than one hundred thousand dollars a year 100%. 
This is how the Republicans characterize the position of leading Democrats. 

The Democrats counter that the Republicans would not accept a reasonable deal until the Democrats agreed to 1) Lower taxes to 1% on all Americans making one million dollars a year or more; 2) Outlaw immigration from any country except Israel,  Norway and Russia; 3) Agree to award Vladimir  Putin the Congressional Medal of Honor; 4) Fund a special counsel to investigate special counsel Robert Muller; 4) Arrest Hillary Clinton; 5) Retroactively impeach Bill Clinton and Barak Obama and erase all mentions of their names from the history books and the internet; 6) Impose a ten thousand dollar usage fee for all people earning less than fifty thousand dollars a year who seek health care; and 7) Reinstate Plessy v. Ferguson

This is how the Democrats have characterized the position of the Republican Party and the President.

Naturally, both sides have expressed optimism that a resolution is close.  

And so it goes.....

From Occupied and Shut Down America, Fight the Power.

Friday, January 19, 2018


The Democratic senate caucus is meeting at 8:30 PM. 
The senate has a vote scheduled at 10:00 PM.

Will the government shut down? 
Do we care?

The Northern District of Texas saw fit to send out an email alerting lawyers that even if the government shuts down, the court will be open Monday and would update lawyers on the possible reduction of services in the coming weeks if the shut down continues. 

The SDFLA? Silent.  But Rumpole knows the court's have a reserve fund that will last about a week to ten days, at which point money to pay clerks and PDs runs out. Stay tuned.

So how will this affect you? 
Social Security? Payments will go out. 
Federal parks, museums, zoos? Abierto! Closed until further notice. 
The Mail? "Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor Gloom Of Trump, shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Air Traffic Controllers? "You're cleared ILS  niner right, contact ground control at 112.5"

Defense, NORAD, etc? Operating as normal.

From Occupied America, where Obama and Boehner aren't the only ones to shut down the government, fight the power!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018




In 1978, Jorge Garcia was born in Mexico.

In 1988, a relative of Jorge Garcia took Jorge, who was ten years old at the time, illegally across the Mexican border and into the United States.

In 2003, at the age of 25, Garcia married Cindy. Then came the birth of his daughter (now 15 years old) and his son (now 12 years old).

For the past 15 years, Garcia has always worked and earned an income to help support his family.  He paid his taxes too.  He has never been arrested, in fact, he has never had so much as a parking ticket.

Garcia has also reported annually to INS/ICE and followed all of their instructions.  He never so much as left town to travel anywhere without first obtaining the permission of ICE.

Garcia does not qualify for DACA.  Of the seven requirements, he was only able to check six of the boxes: He arrived in the US before he turned 16; he continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007; he was present in the US on June 15, 2012; he had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; he obtained his GED; and he was never convicted of a crime.

His only mishap - he was not under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.  He was 33 years old.

So, when “The Donald” came into office exactly one year ago this Saturday, the writing was already on the “wall”.  Trump made it clear from day one, when on June 16, 2015 from Trump Tower in Manhattan, he announced that he was running for President. On that day he targeted Mexico and Mexicans, stating infamously "they're bringing drugs; they're bringing crime; they're rapists; and some, I assume, are good people".

Despite repeated attempts to obtain legal status for Garcia so he could stay in this country, those efforts failed.  In December, ICE agents informed Garcia that his time was up.  They gave him the news - he would have to get on a plane and return to Mexico on Monday, January 15, 2018, Martin Luther King Day.  After spending nearly thirty years in the United States, Garcia would be returned to the country he left when he was only ten years old.

At the airport on Monday, his wife and his two children hugged Garcia and kissed him goodbye, and on the plane he went.  Under the law, the earliest he can apply to be re-admitted to our country is ten years from now. If you have two minutes and three seconds to spare, watch the video here.

On Monday, President Trump Made America Great Again.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018


"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere."
Dr. MLK, Letter From Birmingham Jail. April 16, 1963. 

It occurs to us that if Dr. King were jailed today, he would face daily costs for jail food and use of jail facilities, which is an injustice.

In the spring of 1968,  Dr. King had a rally for economic injustice planned for Washington DC., but first he had a stop in Memphis, Tennessee, planned to support local waste workers (garbage men) who were on strike.  The rest is, sadly history.

Economic injustice, even more than racial injustice, was the big target on King's radar in April, 1968. King realized, well before his time, that it wasn't going to be the color of a person's skin, but size of a person's bank account, that was going, in the long run, to affect a person's ability to survive and thrive in the world. And while there is a correlation between race and economic success, there is also a correlation between economic success and health, happiness, longevity, education...you name it. In other words, economics, more than race, is the great un-equalizer. 

We live in a highly regulated world, where a person's background is available with a few clicks. 
Lots of people get arrested, but people who can afford a private defense are more likely to avoid the petty criminal convictions that still cost a person in society. Case in point: Many years ago we represented a prominent anesthesiologist who, looking to sell his extra U of M football tickets during game day at the stadium, was arrested for some ridiculous violation of a City ordinance for selling without a license, or some such nonsense. Unlike other "ticket scalpers" we were able to get the charges dismissed for our client. The good doctor spent no time in jail, and his/her record remains clean. 

Other, less fortunate souls, would have a conviction, time in jail before they could bond out, court costs, and other potential economic costs that they could  ill afford to pay. 

In other words, when are we going to try to stop balancing the court budget on the backs of the poor who cannot afford to pay exorbitant court costs. The "payment plan" system (in some backwater room on the fifth floor of the REGJB, populated by those nameless, faceless public servants who add grist to the mill of the system) is just a "Christmas Club" for Tallahassee, where poor Floridians make the payments, and the politicians get the gifts.  

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”
“The three evils of society,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967. 

In perusing the "President had sex with a porn star" headlines and articles this weekend, we came across this quote about sex and the presidency: "Chronic indiscipline, compulsion, exploitation, the easy betrayal of vows, all suggest something wrong at a deep level-something habitual and beyond control."
It is true the allegations about Trump having sex with a porn star were said to have occurred a year after Trump married the current Mrs. Trump in 2005. 
But this quote was from our conservative friend Bill Bennnett, and his book in 1999 "The Death Of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals." 
Huh. Well how about that? 
The easy betrayal of sacred wedding vows. The chronic indiscipline...all suggest something beyond control. Well, yeah., but...this is 2017, and the president in question is a Republican (well, sort of, not a Bush or Regan or Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt Republican, but still...), so maybe now it's time to just attribute such behavior to "boys will be boys" and not the moral outrage that accompanied the sex life of the last white-democratic President. 
Real American men just grab em by the you-know-what. Morals? Those are for Presidents who claim to be born in Hawaii (but maybe Africa). They aren't for true blue, manly Republican presidents. Right? They don't need morals....or do they?

From Occupied America, Fight the Power!

Monday, January 15, 2018




I think it goes without saying that Chief Judge Soto and Administrative Judge of the Criminal Court Sayfie have always gone out of their way to respond to our issues and concerns at the GJB. While we may not always like the answer, at least they are honest and forthright.
Both Judge Soto and Judge Sayfie responded to our concerns about the Judicial Assistants (JAs) who are less than responsive, as well as the implementation of a Criminal Court Online Scheduling System.

Here is what each Judge had to say:

As the one who often handles complaints about access to a judges calendar I would love an online system. I can certainly discuss it with the COC (this would be largely their show) and our IT team (CITES). I am guessing the big obstacle will be CJIS. And the fact that it is antiquated. And that we must still work through CJIS. Also - while Criminal is theoretically "efiling" the reality is that you, the attorney, are emailing your motions & pleadings to the COC, and the COC prints it out & then puts the paper in the paper file. The judges do not have any electronic access to your "efiled" motion. The system in civil was updated. As was the system in family. We are at the bottom of the list and while a CJIS overhaul has been in the works for over 5 years at least...I believe we will see it when we see a new courthouse. This is a matter of funding, and the county I presume, has not yet been convinced that our inefficient paper based & ancient non-web based computer system is wasting money. For what it is worth Chief Judge Soto & I have been in their faces about it regularly.

In any event, I will speak with CITES and see if there is something simple we can put in place in the meantime. And if there are "frequent flyers" among the JAs or judges who are limiting or denying access, rather than blog about it, please contact me with specific information. I promise you I will take care of it.

Nushin G. Sayfie, Circuit Court Judge
Administrative Judge, Criminal Division


Captain Justice,

Thank you for your email. Online scheduling is something we would like in all our courts. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints and ITD’s timeline for CJIS that may be easier said than done. The last meeting we had with the County a price tag of fifty million dollars to revamp CJIS with a web based solution (I’m not techy but I think that’s the lingo). ITD has been observing and studying each CJIS function to come up with a solution for over 2 years (33 municipalities in addition to all of the stakeholders ie corrections, pd, sao, rcc, probation, etc use CJIS).

Judge Sayfie and I have met with ITD on numerous occasion encouraging a new system, but as expressed above we have not made much progress. I will reach out my trial court administrator and our cites department to see if there is something we can do internally but that may be problematic since most of the setting is done by the clerk’s office.
Bertila Soto
Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit

You want more funding for our criminal justice system?  Two thoughts: first, in November, vote for the candidates that are more likely to provide money in the state budget for items like CJIS; second, sign the Petition called the Voting Restoration Amendment, aka "Say Yes To Second Chances" which can be found here. 

So, there you have it. It’s all about the moolah and, as it always has been, the criminal justice system comes in dead last when it comes to the State and the County spending $$$$ for our little ole Gerstein Justice Building.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Violence, Protective Injunctions, and M-O-N-E-Y, the Florida Supreme Court weighs in .....


QUERY: Is Florida Statute 784.046, the statute most criminal defense attorneys know as the:  ACTION BY VICTIM OF REPEAT VIOLENCE, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, OR DATING VIOLENCE FOR PROTECTIVE INJUNCTION, a civil proceeding or action?

The Florida Supreme Court weighed in on that question this week in the case of Lopez v Hall. In a 4-3 decision the majority answered YES, and with that answer, opened the floodgates for attorney fees to be obtained against a losing party under certain circumstances in these kinds of cases.

Most of us who dwell in the house of GJB and who have never ventured outside those protective walls to say the courthouse over at 73 West Flagler Street, have never even heard of F.S. 57.105. A favorite tool of our civil brethren, it spells out their favorite five letter word - M-O-N-E-Y.

We have all had that male client walk through our office door telling us that they had just been served with a Temporary Injunction and that the allegations were all false. Sometimes we prepare an all out defense, other times, for strategic reasons, we determine, after hearing all of the facts, that it is simply best to agree to the Injunction rather than fight it. So, we advise the client to accept the terms of the RO without admitting to any of the facts.

In Lopez v. Hall, Nicole Lopez filed a Petition for protection against Sean Hall. She swore out her allegations and received a temporary injunction. Hall, through counsel, filed a Motion, pursuant to 57.105, for attorneys fees claiming that Lopez had perjured herself in her petition. Lopez eventually dropped her action. Hall sought fees in the trial court, but the trial court judge denied the request finding that 57.105 did not apply. The First DCA reversed holding that the awarding of 57.105 attorneys fees did apply. And, the Florida Supreme Court agreed.

So, the next time your hero walks through the door, and says "none of it is true", you will now be able to tell him that not only will you be happy to fight for him, but you may also be able to secure him attorneys fees. F.S. 57.105 does state that:

1. It can be filed by motion of any party

2. On any claim or defense at any time during the civil proceeding or action

3. When the court finds that the losing party or the losing party’s attorney "knew or should have known" that a claim or defense was "not supported by the material facts".

Make sure you read the statute carefully as there are certain other requirements in order to be successful and collect fees. There is a notice provision requiring you to serve the motion on your opponent, and give them 21 days to withdraw or correct a baseless claim or defense, before you can go ahead and file your motion with the court and set it for a hearing.

Former Chief Justice Pariente wrote the dissent and she was joined by the only other female on the court (Justice Quince) as well as the current CJ Labarga. They, along with Howard Simon of the ACLU and other women’s groups are all concerned about the fallout of this opinion as it relates to protecting women from violence.

We expect a bill will be filed very soon in Tallahassee in an attempt to eliminate the 57.105 tool from the war chest of men who wish to scare off women from filing these kinds of restraining orders.

Coming on Monday, another post about M-O-N-E-Y as we hear from two of our favs, Judge Soto and Judge Sayfie..

Happy MLK Weekend. Be smart (take MM’s advice and curl up on the sofa with a good book) and stay off the streets lest you find yourself trapped among hundred of two and three wheeled bikers who have made it a yearly MLK weekend tradition of scaring the bejeezers out of the traveling public.


Thursday, January 11, 2018


Update: Rumpole here: Mr. Ovalle, always a good sport, wrote a Herald Article on our opinion in Ovalle v. Publix. 
It's a nice read. 

Gooooood morning MIAMI!.....Beautiful day....long weekend coming....amazing week on the blog. 

Did everyone catch the Twitter explosion with Rumpole when he posted the Appellate Court opinion this week? All of Miami's media-types loved it. Well deserved accolades for Mr. R. 
Follow @justicebuilding.

"Truth to Power." I gotta tell ya something. I hear that phrase all the time. On TV news shows.  On Twitter (@millennialme786, just sayin, check it out), everywhere. Here's the thing...WTF does it mean?  It's not a complete sentence. Truth is a noun. Power is an ephemeral concept. No, ephemeral is not the correct word, but it sounds like it should be. 
 In some ways Power is in the eye of the beholders. Leaders have power until their followers no longer accept it. A supervisor at work has power, until the employee quits.
Like gravity Power cannot be seen or touched. It is hard to measure. Actually you can measure gravity, but not power.

So when people say they want to speak "Truth" to "Power" what power? Where?  I just don't get it. 

Long weekend plans? I suggest going to one of those Everglades national parks we have.  Shark River is my fav.  👩💛Everyone goes in the summer when it's a miserable, sweat-fest slog through stifling heat. Try it out in the winter on a cool, sunny day. Lots going on. You can bring your bike or rent one, or take a tram tour. And it's not expensive. And you can bring a picnic lunch. 

Speaking of lunch, you know who has the best local sandwiches? Publix. Ya. Publix. I kid ya not. It's like, a national phenomenon. (Not sure why I lapsed into Trump-valley speak there. I'll stop now.). Check out Buzzfeed which calls the subs the "best on earth." 
Google Publix subs. There are articles and Facebook  pages and fans devoted to Publix subs. My fav is the veggie. Load it up with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, yellow peppers, hot peppers, sweet peppers (I like peppers, do you think?) a few onions, double avocado, little cheese, some creamy dressing. Yummy. 

Still have the flu or that bad cold going around? Stay home. Order a Publix sub, and get The Woman in The Window, by AJ Flynn. Nice, dark, compelling, fun read. Or The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah (No, it's not the story of my dating life 😜- it's the story of a family in crisis, in Alaska in the 1970's). 

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!  (I planned ahead and got the day off tomorrow, so I'm rockin a really long weekend.)