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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

LUNCH AND LEARN TODAY ! (TUESDAY)

Lunch...AND Learn?! What a novel concept!
Today, at noon, at our humble courthouse, the master of voir dire, Gene Zenobi will be reprising his lecture on the subject.  This is one you don't want to miss. 

Jury selection is by far the most important part of the case. Imagine trying to get Republicans to vote to raise taxes, or Democrats to vote to repeal Obama-care. Our point is that your audience matters. It is crucial that you get jurors who will have the ability and inclination to vote for your case. This is something most lawyers never understand. 

One final point-although we could expound on this subject for hours.  We see very few lawyers who can conduct a proper voir dire. And the biggest mistake we see is that lawyers somehow believe- and this is probably because fools at the SAO and PDs office have trained them to believe this- that the purpose of jury selection is to educate the jury about your case. 

WRONG. 


The purpose of voir dire is to find out what individual jurors believe so you can determine if the juror has the ability to build a coalition with other like-minded jurors to vote for your case. 

Ever see a lawyer interrupt a juror who is speaking? This is what we are talking about. That's a lawyer who doesn't understand what jury selection is all about. 

Don't believe this? 

Come watch Mr. Zenobi speak today. 

From Occupied America, where the US is being asked to pay for the wall, Fight the liar Power. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

DIARY OF A MAD PRESIDENT 100 DAYS

Dear Diary, coming up on 100 days as the big kahuna. The Big cheese. El Jefe. Da man. That's me! 
Got a guy on the supreme court. Voted to allow an execution in Arkansas. Only sad part was the scum executed wasn't Mexican. Oh well, better luck next time. 

100 days- promised to end Obama care on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to build wall on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to stop North Korea from launching missiles on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to rip up Iran deal on day one. Oh well. 
Promised tax cuts on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to expose global warming as chinese fake news on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to lock-up Hillary on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to declare China a currency manipulator on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to end World Bank on day one. Oh well. 
Promised to not interfere in regional conflicts like Syria. Oh well.  
Promised to withdraw from NATO on day one unless Germany paid fair share. Oh well. 

Here's what I did do...
Biggest inauguration ever. What will good health care do for the average american versus his president having the biggest crowds ever? I mean really, I know what's important. 
Re-did the drapes in the Oval. Obama had such bad taste. 
Lots of golf. 
Lots of Mar-a-lago. 
Oh yeah...
Did bomb Syria. 
Did threaten Australia. 
Did insult German leader whaz-her-name by not shaking her hand. That sent a message. New sheriff in town. Can't push me around the way Bin Laden did with Obama. Which reminds me, when we catch Bin Laden it's going to be a big deal. Going to put him on a reality TV show. Make him work on wall with Mexico. Etc. Calling Mark Burnett later for ideas. 

Did insult all US intelligence agencies. 
Did have Patriots to white house. Super Bowl guys. Winners. Like me. 

Everyone is saying this is the best presidency ever. That no one has ever seen a presidency like this one. Loving that. 

Job is good. Golf game improving. 
Gotta go. Treasury guy apparently has Mexican Amex card...gonna charge like 100K to start work on the wall. That will show them! Plus the travel points go to Ivanka and Jared. 

Phone call later with Putin...got some good stuff cookin on French Election. Le Pen is our gal. 

First state dinner with Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. State Dept said we can't have state dinner with local mayor. But I say yes. Burgers. Taco Bell. 

DJT.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

WHERE IS THE CARL VINSON? THE WORLD WONDERS

In October 1944 the US invaded the Pacific island of Leyte. The Japanese expected the invasion and sought a naval confrontation with the US Navy. The Japanese had carefully studied the US Admirals and believed they had located a weakness in US Admiral William "Bull" Halsey. 
Halsey was a fighting admiral. He was brave and impetuous and was spoiling for a fight.  The Japanese decided to play on Halsey's temper which they viewed as a weakness and created a "Northern Task Force" about which they sent fake radio traffic which indicated that the Northern Force comprised the main part of the Nippon Navy- a juicy carrier loaded target. 

 Halesy was lured to chase the ghost northern force, leaving the US invasion force mostly unprotected, although Admiral Kincaid bravely held off the real main Japanese forces which attacked in a pincer movement around the island. 
Kincaid radioed to Admiral Nimitz for help and for Halsey. And Nimitz sent this now famous and historical radio message to Halsey: 

"Where is, repeat where is Task Force 34...the world wonders?"
TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG FROM CINCPAC ACTION COM THIRD FLEET INFO COMINCH CTF SEVENTY-SEVEN X WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS

The controversy of the message, especially the "world wonders" part was quickly explained away as superfluous words that were included in coded transmissions and did not reflect the actual words or thoughts of Nimitz. However, the words stung Halsey in light of him falling for the Japanese bait and compromising the invasion. 

Halsey recovered in time to help thwart the invasion, but his reputation suffered from the message which was viewed as a rebuke from Nimitz, the Pacific Commander of Naval Forces. 

Which brings us to the USS Carl Vinson and the now nearly hourly reports that when the current President threatened North Korea with the Carrier Task force, it was in fact thousands of miles away heading towards Australia- which even most people who wear robes could have told our president is the wrong way if you want to get to North Korea. 

The media, not to mention much of the world is now ridiculing the US and our President: 

The Atlantic wonders in this headline How the Trump Administration Lost an Aircraft Carrier?

The NY Times Gail Collins Op Ed is entitled "Paging The Trump Armada...It's not easy to lose a flotilla"

Unlike Admiral Halsey who was a WWII hero (although he is subject to criticism which continues to this day including his questionable actions at Leyte and that he led a task force through a Pacific cyclone at the end of the war),  the current POTUS is neither a war hero, nor respected. 

As to the current status of the  Vinson Carrier group, it may be appropriate to again ponder: "Where, repeat where is the Vinson Carrier Group? The World Wonders..."

From Occupied America, Fight the Power.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf is perhaps the most studied naval battle of WWII.  In other forums, your humble blogger has written extensively on this confrontation. 

Unlike today with satellites tracking naval forces, the battle highlights the decisions admirals had to make with imperfect information. The tactics of the Japanese- in using guile and a thorough understanding of the nature of the adversary to even the odds in the face of a superior force have been required reading at Annapolis for the last 50 years. 

"If your opponent is of choleric temper, irritate him." Sun Tzu. 
The Japanese did just that, baiting Halsey, and almost achieved what would have been a stunning naval victory that could have set back the war efforts in the Pacific six more months.  


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ONLY NIXON COULD GO TO CHINA

"The problem with vice is not so much the sin, as the character of the people one meets to practice it."
Len Garment, counselor to President Nixon, quoting Oscar Wilde on Nixon's involvement with the coverup of the Watergate Burglars.

Rumpole has read "Richard Nixon The Life" by John A Farrell and pronounces it a very satisfactory, if a bit too short biography of the 37th POTUS. Farrell's distinction is that this is the first major biography after the successful lawsuit in 2007 to release over 37,000 hours of white house tapes. The writing is crisp and at times superb. For example: "It was that spring, with little note, that Truman dismissed Franklin Roosevelt's qualms about aligning the US on the wrong side of an anti-colonial war of independence and approved the first multimillion dollar aid package for French Indochina.
Thusly, the spectre of Vietnam, which came to define Nixon, was subtly introduced. 
And...
"Nixon moved to New York in June 1963 to lay him down and bleed awhile" in discussing Nixon's loss of the 1962 race for governor in California. 

And ... in discussing 1968...
"As the world went mad around him, Nixon had shown touch and timing in his campaign to claim the Republican nomination.

All of this relevant to those of us who believe (unlike the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue)  that those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.

And while we remember but do not honor the birth of the greatest war criminal of the 20th century on April 20th- a man who under the banner of German nationalism led his nation to ruin and a world to war, we also remember on April 22, the death of Richard Milhous Nixon- who in 1994 ended a remarkable life with a career filled with Shakespearean or Grecian like tragedies, triumphs, defeats, and ultimately a comeback of sorts and some peace. 

The 37th POTUS was a remarkable and complex man whose life is well worth much study. 

From Occupied America,  where "Only Nixon could go to China", and a deposed president once, incredibly,  told David Frost "If the President does it, it means that it is not illlegal", Fight The Power. 


Saturday, April 15, 2017

WHEN THE RAIN FELL GENTLY FROM THE SKY

On this date April 15, 1865, when the "rain fell gently from the sky as if the heavens were weeping" Abraham Lincoln passed from man to immortal at 7:22 AM from the assassin's bullet which struck him the evening before. "Now he belongs to the ages" his  Secretary of War  Edward M. Stanton was recorded as saying in grief  by Lincoln secretary John Hay in his diary. 



We are reminded of Lincoln's letter to his friend Joshua Speed in 1855,  a decade before the end of the civil war. Lincoln was wrestling with slavery and the union and the Missouri compromise and whether Kansas would be admitted to the union as a slave state. 

This famous letter is remarkable for many things, and today it stands out for Lincoln's prescience for his interpretation of these most precious words upon which a great nation was founded: "All men are created equal": 

Dear Speed..
I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy ..." 

Although Lincoln's reference to the "Know Nothings" refers to an actual political movement of the day, there are different more literal "Know Nothings" in charge of our great country today. From these words we can extrapolate this- in these troubling times when the degeneracy of "all men are created equal" continues with alacrity, Lincoln would be moving to Moscow. 

From Occupied America, where "Know Nothings" sit in our Oval Office, Fight the Power!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

THE FRIENDLY SKIES

UPDATE: 
Judge Jason Dimitris was elevated from County Court to Circuit Court this week, replacing the retired Judge Brennan. Congrats. The Captain has the details in the comments.  And that means a county court spot has opened and the dominoes are lining up. 

While money isn't everything, we will just note that, as indicated below, most members of the judiciary fly coach...

Warren Buffet, commentating on the success in investing in airlines, once famously quipped that “the best thing that could have happened to investors who want to invest in airlines is if Wilbur would have shot Orville from the sky”.

Airlines are difficult companies to run.  A little history: in the 1960’s the emerging Jet age was regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board which regulated interstate air routes for commercial airlines (the ol’ commerce clause of fame and misfortune rears it’s ugly head yet again).  Airlines that wanted the lucrative New York-Miami route (remember Eastern Airlines and Pan Am?) would be awarded that route IF they also agreed to the less lucrative New York-Dayton route.  Fares were also regulated because flying and interstate travel were deemed to be “in the public interest” (the economic philosophy of altruistic-collectivism for those of you paying philosophical attention).

Some capitalists found a loophole- intra-state travel was not regulated. While this didn’t mean a lot for say, New Mexico, it did offer an opportunity for regional airlines in Texas and California. Thus was born Southwest Airlines which made a small fortune flying from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio.

Economically, inter-state travel was so expensive because of regulation and the obligation to fly money-losing routes, that adjusted for inflation, cost-per-mile basis was double what it was today.  The system worked in a way. Air travel was luxurious. Airlines competed for customers on their routes, but mostly they lost money.

Enter James Earl Carter the 39th POTUS, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy and his bright aide Stephen Breyer. Kennedy was a frequent critic of the airlines, and Carter was dealing with a spike in gas prices and airlines were facing bankruptcy.  And just like that- a bunch-a-liberal do-gooders de-regulated an industry. Yep, it wasn’t the republicans (their weren’t that many around in those post-Watergate days anyway) it was a democratic congress and president that unleashed the power of capitalism and competition on the airline industry.  

Airlines sprung up and went away- who remembers Air-Tran, not to mention Trump-Air?  Eventually, as the market predicted, the industry consolidated as some airlines failed because of market inefficiency, and successful ones bought-out smaller ones and a few regional powerhouses like Southwest and Alaska Air emerged. And thus we flew through the 80’s and 90’s with cheap travel (cheap oil and gas) and a strong dollar and a flying stock market and Rumpole became well known for flying to Paris or London or Berlin for a long weekend as the stock-market roared with new tech stocks and Bill Clinton cast a longing and lonely eye at White House interns.

But then, like the bubble stocks that fueled our European travels, we landed, the economy landed, 9/11 occurred, oil prices soared, and airlines collapsed under new security and energy costs. By the end of the Obama administration, the sea of airline red ink was so vast, that Moses couldn’t have parted it on his best day, and the loses of that decade wiped out the existence of every single dollar of airline profit ever made since the 1960’s.

Warren Buffet- he’s a pretty smart guy. You invest against his recommendations at your own risk.

To survive, airlines needed to do a few basic things. 1) Fly full. Every trip. Every seat maximized for what investors call the -dollar-per-seat-per-mile basis. 2) Fly profitable routes- which means flying though hubs. Shuttling passengers from New York to Atlanta to Chicago and then dumping them on a small regional to get to Dayton became the way to survive in a competitive market. This is capitalism and competition for better or worse. Seats became smaller. No more meals. Take a small bag of peanuts and watch your ipad and be quiet. 3) Monetarize everything- EVERYTHING. A few more inches of leg room costs more. Exit rows cost more. Getting on first costs more. Flying for a two week vacation? Have fun! If you decide to bring a change of clothes in a bag or two, that will cost $25/bag. Want a slice of cheese and a few grapes at 32, 000 feet? $11.50 please.

And now on the Friendly Skies of United.

That passenger was a complete moron. An idiot. And as it turns out- a convicted felon who as a doctor traded sex for pain pills and was placed on probation by a hospital he worked at after he somehow managed to get his license back.

Every airline ticket comes with the agreement that your seat is NOT guaranteed. This has been the case since Carter and Kennedy channeled their inner-Rockefeller. Everybody knows flights are overbooked. And if you are asked to leave- then like the couple just before the doctor- you get up, you grumble, you threaten to call Rumpole or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and your cousin Arnie who knows a guy who works with the CEO of United, and you grab your back-pack and you shuffle off the plane.

That doctor caused this incident. He had two good working feet. He could have gotten off the plane. Throughout our life we all encounter situations that we don’t like or are unfair. The obnoxious person who steals your parking space at Walmart as you are preparing to back into. The person who cuts the line at Joes (guilty as charged).  The cop who tells you to do something she has no right to tell you to do.

What you do in those situations, is you take a deep breath, understand that being adult means sometimes life isn’t fair, and you back down, you get off the plane and you move on with your life. You tell yourself you believe in Karma and that the cop, or the parking spot thief, or the nasty airline employee will get theirs-if not tomorrow then in their next life when they get continually ripped off by their Chinese-food delivery service and don’t get the spare ribs they ordered and were dying for- and you MOVE ON.

Four year-olds (and many people who wear black robes in Broweird) throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want and they discover that life isn’t fair. Adults deal with the situation as adults.

United was wrong. The cops who dragged the doctor were wrong. But this doctor caused the problem. He didn’t act like a responsible individual. He’s not the guy we want operating the emergency exit (much less a sphygmomanometer on our arm in the doctor’s office), and he’s probably the guy talking on his cell-phone right through take-off. He’s the type of guy who steals your parking spot at Walmart; he cuts in line at the bank; he is nasty to the people who take your order at the drive-through; he doesn’t tip hotel maids when he checks out of the Hampton Inn after a mid-afternoon illicit tryst. The world owes HIM because he has an MD degree. And they say trial lawyers can be obnoxious.  

Airline travel is no longer fun (but those shops at airports are getting nicer). Small seats. Full planes. No food. Long delays. Nasty employees. It’s all part of the price we pay for affordable travel. So understand what it is, and that one time you get bumped for the crew that has to get to Indianapolis  to get that jet of people to Albuquerque,  so that a crew can hot-seat to Albuquerque to get that flight to Minneapolis- you get your stuff and put on your ear phones and turn on Public Enemy (Fight the Power!)  and walk off the plane like an adult with your head held high, albeit a bit smaller.

Or do what we do- Fly NetJets.

From Occupied America, where the planes are full, the skies not friendly, and the president is mad, turn on Public Enemy and Fight the Power!




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

PASSOVER

"Passed-over"? 
H/T to social media, a long time reader who tweeted and wondered about how Judge Merrick Garland felt yesterday, the first day of Passover, for being "Passed-over" as Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th associate Justice of the Supreme Court. 

Both Judges would/will make very good justices. Both have the right-stuff. And yet, in this era of hyper-politics, each judge was opposed by a unified majority of the other party. 

This reminds us of the time we had a client who was out on bond and was having a crises and his bondsman picked him up and alerted us and we appeared in court the following day to voluntarily surrender our client to jail. And the prosecutor automatically objected. The judge smiled and let out a small laugh and pointed out the absurdity of the prosecutor's response: "Just because the defense wants something, you're automatically objecting? Even when it's surrendering his client to jail?" 

Passover is the story of liberation. But it is much more than "Let my people go." It's a story of faith and new beginnings for a people that would wander for 40 years before finding a firmament and a homeland. It's a story about a leader that was never allowed to see the land of his people that he had led them out of bondage to. 

There is a much publicized right-wing-apocalyptic book that posits that history moves in 80 year cycles. Presidential advisor and certified nut Steve Bannon keeps a well thumbed copy of "The Fourth Turning" on his desk. While the book itself is hyper-fear nonsense, there is an argument to be made that nothing is guaranteed in terms of world leadership and success. Each generation- each four year iteration of American political leaders- must pick up the mantle of past success. The accomplishments of Lincoln and Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt and Eisenhower and Reagan and Clinton and Obama await the next leader who can move the ball forward or suffer the consequences. Said another way- the world is a dangerous place and will not let America rest on its laurels. 

This is the season we celebrate the freedom of refugees from Egypt in biblical times- while we actively close our borders to families being gassed because they are Syrians. 

This is the time for leaders like Dr. King to emerge- who have dreams and may not make it with us to the promised land, but will guide us to safety and sanity. 

We can't even agree on the appointment of high-quality judges merely because the "other side" nominated them. 

This is the time to worry that the United States will be passed-over.
Because the fault dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves. 

Pass the Matzo and gefilte-fish please with some horseradish (red only, of course).  

From Occupied America, Fight the Power!

Coming tomorrow: United We Fly!