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Maybe Skip Campbell was right ...

(one of three signs posted in Utility Room 510-M,
 right next door to Ginger Lerner-Wren's old courtroom on the fifth floor)

(Note to Florida Bar - Photo by JAABLOG)



Lynn Feig-Rosenthal consented to the release of her mug shot earlier today ...

SS: Mug shot of Judge Lynn Rosenthal released

" ... The Sun Sentinel and JAABlog, a website that focuses on Broward courthouse news and gossip, challenged the right of the Broward Sheriff's Office to withhold Rosenthal's mug shot.

"She was manipulating a law that clearly doesn't apply to someone in her position as a public figure," said Bill Gelin, the Fort Lauderdale attorney who runs JAABlog. "We expect more from our judges as an example of candor, forthrightness and compliance with all the laws in the spirit they were intended."

Gelin also chided the judge for refusing to provide evidence that would show whether she had drugs in her system. Driving a car implies consent to any sobriety test required by law, he noted.

"She should have submitted a blood or urine sample to confirm her claim that this was just a mistake with her Ambien," he said
... "


Miami's chief judge runs Florida's largest circuit,
a full time division ...

Imagine That!

                                    (open to the public)


                                Chan Lowe - Sun Sentinel



Lynn Feig-Rosenthal is back in campaign mode.  As Buddy Nevins reported today, she made an appearance last night, and another source has confirmed she's been calling around seeking support since making bond.  No word yet on whether she'll be on a bench Monday.

Multiple sources have also confirmed Feig-Rosenthal's husband was indeed turned away during the time of his wife's detention/arrest, after attempting to access her office in the Broward County Courthouse.  No further information is available as to why he needed to get in there, or whether it was BSO or a judge telling him to pound sand.

Additionally, we've made a public records request to BSO to get Feig-Rosenthal's property receipt from when she was booked, and to see if anything else was removed from her car besides the box of campaign literature seen in the press.  BSO said they'd get back to us on Monday.

Lastly, one of the lawyers handling Feig-Rosenthal's case, Carlos Canet, gave a statement this morning concerning the likelihood of JQC problems because of the refusal, following a conversation highlighting his optimism that all criminal charges will be dropped. 

As follows:

"My prediction, if she appears before the JQC, they won't take any action". (Emphasis requested)

Regarding questions as to why she didn't provide a urine sample, Canet stated "no comment at this time".

Developing ...

Courthouse security issue - something happened up by Randi Boven's hearing room Thursday, involving a litigant possessing a gun.  The incident is being downplayed.  A BSO rep said it involved an off-duty officer in plain clothes who was a party to litigation, who forgot to check his gun in with security.  Apparently the gun was spotted, but stories vary wildly as to exactly what happened.  On one extreme it was drawn, and on the other it was simply seen holstered.  In any event, armed deputies had to get involved.  By the time we got there, everyone clammed up, and an un-cuffed man being escorted to the elevator was quickly ushered back inside behind locked doors due to our presence.  Today Boven said she didn't witness the incident, and referred all other questions to Peter Weinstein.  We left a message with the chief judge, and are awaiting an explanation ...

Jury Room - after speaking to Howard Forman, it seems the jury room swear-in rotation of judges is strictly a judicial issue.  But more on that later ...



Peter Weinstein has called a mandatory judges meeting Wednesday at 12:15 PM, location to be determined.  We'll post more details after receiving the email.

It's anyone's guess why the chief judge is reacting so slowly to the crisis.  At least two circuit judges addressed packed courtrooms this morning by noting the furor ignited by their three embattled colleagues, by acknowledging jurists are indeed held to a higher standard, and by stressing the fact eighty-seven other Broward judges continue to ably serve the public.  It's something Weinstein should have done long before the most recent debacle, but at least there are some leaders on the bench no longer content to wait for Weinstein to step up on behalf of the judiciary he represents and community he serves. 

We're working on the mea culpa transcripts for next week, so stay tuned ...

Coming Soon
- Lynn Feig-Rosenthal campaigns, others cover ...


SS Editorial: Judges don't trust system, but we are supposed to?

We want to trust judges.

But something smells bad in Broward County: All three Broward judges arrested on DUI charges over the past six months refused to take either a blood or breath test ...

... if (Lynn) Rosenthal took more than one pill, or mixed an Ambien with other pills, we should know that, too. Maybe she has a problem, and if so, needs help. If that is the case, she shouldn't be on the bench wielding power over people in trouble who have a lot of personal problems, too.

If Rosenthal was done in by a single Ambien, she had a chance to show us. More importantly, the judge had an opportunity to show us the system works.

Don't we all expect more of judges? ...

Certainly, nobody deserves to be sent 
(to jail) by a troubled judge who operates above the law in his or her own life.

If Rosenthal, (Cynthia) Imperato and (Gisele) Pollack had taken those sobriety tests, and showed faith in the justice system, we would all know more about the truth and the punishment that should be meted out.

While none of the judges could operate a car safely, they were capable of making a decision: Hide the truth from the public to protect themselves. And that stinks.

CH 10 - THIS WEEK IN SOUTH FLORIDA (roundtable discussion starts at 27:40)

Michael Putney, Mike Mayo, and others on Rosenthal, Refusal, and Mug Shot Madness ...

BrowardBeat: Did Supremes Telegraph Penalty For Broward’s DUI Refusal Judges?

SS: Should judges who are substance abusers resign?

SS: Should judges be held to a higher standard?

SS: Howard Finkelstein on the judiciary

"While it may be just a few bad apples, or in the case of Broward judges, a few bad actions, the Broward judiciary must work hard to win back the public's trust. Three judges have been arrested for DUI, the Judicial Qualifications Committee has determined that another current judge should lose her judgeship, a former Broward judge, who resigned in disgrace, is waiting to see if she can keep her law license, and the courthouse is holding its collective breath to see if other judges will be indicted in the Scott Rothstein scandal. We deserve better from our elected officials."

SS: Jay Hurley profile - good news for a change

NYT: On Death Row With Low I.Q., and New Hope for a Reprieve



The following six names have been sent to Governor Scott for consideration to replace both Ed Merrigan and Joe Murphy:

Keathan Frink, Thomas Oates, Abbe Rifkin, Richard Sachs, Maxine Streeter, Steve Zaccor.

A surprising and disappointing list.  Dan Kanner, a rumored favorite, was not sent up.  And despite the woeful lack of diversity in the 17th Circuit and the large number of qualified minority applicants this time around, Keathan Frink appears to be the only minority chosen.  Qualified applicants Doug Harrison and Donald Gelin were outright blanked, despite Harrison having been previously vetted and appointed by the Governor's office to his current position on the South Broward Hospital District, and Gelin's years of service with BSO's legal division.

Developing ...


Gone fishin' - our little fishing expedition may have hooked a big one.  It's conjecture at this point, but there's no denying we've got a nibble. 

It has to do with the public records request sent to BSO last week.  The legal department got back to us today, but still couldn't provide an answer as to whether or not Lynn Feig-Rosenthal's property receipt from county jail will be released.

It turns out the jail property inventory form may contain information that's exempt from disclosure.  They've consulted with the Attorney's General's Office for guidance, and will be conducting further research to see if all items can be released, or if redactions may be necessary to keep certain things confidential.  BSO promised an answer by the close of business Wednesday.

All other questions were politely declined to be answered, including whether or not Feig-Rosenthal was booked in possession of a validly prescribed controlled substance which could cause impaired driving.  So for now it's wait and see until Wednesday, unless the accused judge agrees to release all property information before things start to get ugly, just like when the mugshot was at issue.  A call to attorney Brian Silber inquiring about a waiver was placed late today, so stay tuned ...

Swing and a miss!
- Peter Weinstein took a turn at bat today for the home town heroes.  He issued a widely covered statement Monday, a full six days after the third Broward judge was arrested for DUI.  It turns out the 17th Circuit is a-ok, although the wisdom of sustaining yet another opportunity so late in the game to rehash credibility-busting judicial mishaps is being questioned by more than a few pundits.  But hey, you can't knock a guy for trying.  Check out the Sun Sentinel's coverage here, featuring the heading Trust Us, complete with a nifty montage of three judges' mugs.

Coming Soon - Howard Finkelstein opts out of Broward's Felony Mental Health Court; Location, Location, Location; How the Jury Room Swearing In System Really Works ...

SS: Judges lack judgment, but not chutzpah

BrowardBeat: DUI Judges Have Been Reassigned To Non-Criminal Matters

SFL: Broward Chief Judge.....zzzzzzzzzzz

SS: Broward judge temporarily homeless ...


Judge Murphy: "If you want to fight, let's go out back and I'll just beat your ass ... "

"I will catch my breath eventually," Murphy said. "Man, I'm an old man."


  Today's guest: Chief Justice Polston!


Got Civility? 
The relatively new professionalism panels are a good idea.  It's mediation and dispute resolution before problems rise to the level of formal complaints, or reach the point of no return.  But since they don't apply to judges, it seems like the judiciary is once again dodging the issues by picking on lawyers and failing to accept even the slightest responsibility for their role in the steep decline of professionalism in the legal world.  Whether fist fighting  staff during court, putting public safety at risk by driving drunk, refusing to comply with sobriety testing, failing to come forward with a man on death row after a deeply tainted trial, or lying throughout official proceedings, Florida's lawyers certainly don't always have the best role models when it comes to how to behave.

So how about it?  Should civility panels apply to judges too?  Should the Supreme Court order professionalism training for all judges?  Or is the problem unfixable?


FL Bar News: Professionalism enforcement program in place for S. Florida

17th Circuit Professionalism Panel AO

MEMBERS: Chair: Kenneth J. Joyce, Esq., W. George Allen, Esq., Juan Arias, Esq., Miette Burnstein, Retired Broward Circuit Judge, William R. Clayton, Esq., Benjamin R. Dishowitz, Esq., Andrea Gunderson, Esq., Marissa Kelly, Esq., Edward J. Marko, Esq., Stephanie Moon, Esq., Charles Morehead, III, Esq., Robert Saunooke, Esq., Stacy Schwartz, Esq., Maxine, Streeter, Esq., Bruce Weihe, Esq.

17th Circuit Professionalism Panel Referral Form

11th Circuit AO

Tallahassee Democrat: Chief justice Ricky Polston applies for FSU job

Coming Soon
- Ten questions judges need to ask Peter Weinstein Wednesday, June 4th at 12:15 PM in Room 840 ...



There are many questions the judges should be asking Peter Weinstein during Wednesday's mandatory meeting, in addition to the following ten:

1.) Why did you fail to stay ahead of the media crisis, how can we be assured you can handle the next one, and what are your plans to restore public confidence and our image?

2.) Have you been contacted by anyone from a higher court because of the arrests, and what are they saying?

3.) What safeguards will be put into place to ensure we won't be publicly humiliated or compromised by another colleague struggling with an ethical quandary or drugs and alcohol?

4.) Which judges are your closest advisers, and is there room at the table for additional voices?

5.) Why are you seeking a third term as chief judge, and what do you hope to accomplish?

6.) What have you done to encourage diversity on the bench over the last four years?

7.) Why hasn't a rotation plan been implemented to ensure a cross-trained judiciary that can efficiently handle a more evenly distributed workload?

8.) Why are lazy judges tolerated, and why aren't hard working judges rewarded?

9.) Why can't you handle a division, or at the very least, temporarily take over a vacant one instead of using so many senior, unelected judges?

10.) Who is responsible for the new building design flaws, and did you see the problems coming as the judicial representative on the New Courthouse Task Force  under Vic Tobin?

                BE THERE OR BE SQUARE - ROOM 840 @ 12:15 PM


 Finally ...


Justice trumps politics - The Supreme Court has the final word, sending a message of hope to the beleaguered 17th Circuit.  Pray it isn't lost on all those who aided and abetted her vile ways, or ignored their oaths by turning a blind eye as she made a mockery of all that's good and decent in the criminal justice system ...

Room Full of Mirrors
   -Jimi Hendrix

I used to live in a room full of mirrors,
All I could see was me,
Well I take my spirit and I crash my mirrors,
Now the whole world is here for me to see,
I said the whole world is here for me to see,
Now I'm searchin' for my love to be,

Broken glass was all in my brain,
Cuttin' screamin' crying in my head,
Broken glass was all in my brain,
It used to fall on my dreams and cut me in my bed,
It used to fall on my dreams and cut me in my bed,
I said makin' love was strange in my bed,
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!!

Coming Soon- Rosenthal, Rosenthal, Rosenthal; SHOOT THE MESSENGER!

JAABLOG Hypotheticals  (2008)

Bob Norman - Gardiner disbarred for lying about relationship with prosecutor

SS: Gardiner disbarred

Rumpole on the Rogues Gallery

BBeat: Judges Meeting On Scandal Accomplish Little



 These guys got bumped,
 so these guys could campaign at the courthouse,
 until the week of the election!

Switcheroo! -You didn't have to attend  last week's mandatory judges' meeting to realize JAABLOG is really shaking judicial administration's cage. 

After speaking with Howard Forman a week or two ago, it became apparent judges decide amongst themselves who will swear-in thousands of prospective jurors on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.  It's basically split up between ten volunteers who can be counted on to be at work by 8:00 AM either by habit or residential proximity (add Fred Horowitz and Raag Singhal to the names above), and scheduled through the end of the year.  The only way for campaigning judges to get in the jury room is to ask permission from one of the scheduled ten.

But not anymore.

As you can see in the three pictures above, the most recent list provided by the jury room (the top picture)has been changed, to add three challenged judges who have been making regular jury room appearances since qualifying ended.  It turns out they had simply been getting permission from one of the regularly scheduled judges to cover, which means those making way could potentially be accused of aiding the judicial reelection campaigns of their colleagues.  In fact, after speaking with two judges on the list concerning this very topic, one of them returned to his regular jury room duties the very same week!

But that's all over now.  Broward's beloved 17th Circuit judiciary has once again shown its true colors on a matter of great public importance, namely the appearance of its own political invulnerability and inability to back down in the face of legitimate criticism.  Despite Lynn Rosenthal, Ian Richards, and Steve Feren not being on the list before the election, they are now, thereby relieving the regularly scheduled judges of any Canonical concerns.  As stated in a previous post, it's really a shame, and transparently unfair to all those hoping for an election on the merits.  But this being Broward, what else would anyone expect?

Coming Soon - Is Rick Scott looking for more minority names, or just Dan Kanner's?; Got Civility? Mike Usansends a message ... ; Get away from me, Bill!; Dave Aronberg, Scott Israel, & Lynn Rosenthal; My father walked with Dr. King; DISMANTLE CANNABIS COURT (Do it in Division!); Attorney Blogger Haydee Oropesa,Voice of Reason West, already shaking things up...

DBR: Governor and Eugene Pettis want JNC to send more names

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Florida judiciary needs more diversity


SS: Imperato's DUI woes add to death penalty sentencing delays

KeysInfoNet - Insult to Injury: Broward ASA Mike Jones wants to replace David Audlin

SS: Supreme Court says "no way" to request for Pollack payday

NBC 6 Video - Jay Hurley's reputation growing nationally ...

Tampa Ch 10 Video - Fl Bar attorney DUI setup case

1941 MBZ 540K for sale ...

NYT: RIP Alexander Shulgin, modern day father of MDMA

LA Times: All Aboard for more lawsuits over California high speed rail

LA Times: Malibu phone app tips users to public beach access by stars' homes

LA Times: Court-imposed fees, costs, and fines fuels race and class inequality


*UPDATE*- the jury room manager just confirmed all of the information below is accurate, while adding in no uncertain terms judicial administration's Jack Tuter and Clerk of Courts Howard Forman deserve the credit for the revised May 28th list, which deleted Rosenthal, Richards, and Feren from the rotation.  Well done!

If only judicial administration would let us know these things in advance ...

The post entitled Switcheroo! under Sunday Notes, from June 8th, 2014 at 9:30 PM is ALL WRONG.  All apologies for the confusion, which is apparently shared by some judges as well as JAABLOG.

According to the jury room, the first picture of the Sunday Notes post, seen directly below, is the revised, current list of judges who will be handling the jury-room swearing-in ceremonies, starting June 30th.  It supercedes the list underneath it showing Lynn Rosenthal, Ian Richards, and Steve Feren working the jury room from 6/30/14 - 8/20/14.  The challenged three were indeed scheduled (as seen in picture #2), but after Buddy Nevins and JAABLOG blogged about the inherent unfairness of it all, the list was revised May 28th, which is picture #1, showingJay Hurley from 6/30-7/1,2, followed by Ehrlich, Levenson, Lee, Pole, Diaz, Miranda, and Gates.  The third picture below, directly underneath picture #2 showing Rosenthal, Richards, and Feren, is part of the same old list seen in #2, which was trumped by the revised May 28th list seen in picture #1.

Got that?

The jury room relates they've already been assured by some regularly scheduled judges that they definitely will be there for their turn at bat.  And despite Ian Richards working the jury room this week, it seems the practice of challenged judges leading the swearing-in ceremonies should hopefully be kaput starting June 30th. 

There's still a lot of confusion out there as to which list is in place.  Hopefully this post clarifies things, based on a conversation with the jury room manager a few minutes ago.  While no corrections were called for after the Sunday Notes post, our follow-up today turned up the correct information.

And now for the apology.

Whether it was judicial administration, the individual judges, or Howard Forman that took action to correct the practice of what has been called jury-room campaigning, they are owed a debt of gratitude.  Our comments were wrong, because despite a long litany of recent shortcomings in leadership, this problem appears to have been fixed after public criticism via JAABLOG and Browardbeat.com.  It takes courage to admit and correct a mistake, and although no individual will take responsibility for allowing the practice in the first place, or credit for fixing things in the end, EVERYONE responsible should be thanked for doing the right thing. 

Apologies to everyone for our mistake, and props to all concerned for some solid leadership in a Circuit that really, really needs it ...


The JNC added four names to the list for consideration by Rick Scott to replace Ed Merrigan and Joe Murphy: Kal Le Var Evans, Dan Kanner, Stefanie Moon, and Vicki Plant.

The previously submitted names, also still under consideration: Keathan Frink, Thomas Oates, Abbe Rifkin, Richard Sachs, Maxine Streeter, Steve Zaccor.

Today's JNC letter is found here.

Interestingly, in addition to Evans and Moon, there were other highly qualified minority applicants for the JNC to choose from, whose names didn't go up.  As it stands now, the Governor has three highly qualified minority lawyers to choose from, so at least things have improved. 

Also of interest, there was a strong buzz shortly after the first six names went up regarding a forthcoming request for more JNC nominees from Tallahassee.  Rumor had it they wanted Dan Kanner's application too.  In fact, we even mentioned the rumor to the ever modest Dan early last week, before news broke that Scott indeed was seeking more names to choose from.  Kanner was gracious in his response, which was made off the cuff and not on the record, so it won't be printed here.

And now it's up to Rick Scott whether or not Broward gets more diversity on the bench.  Peter Weinstein may also play a role, given he was copied on the JNC letter, and the fact chief judges are often used as sounding boards before the final picks are announced.

Wait and see ...

                        (Thanks to Contributor)

BBeat: Jury Room Campaign Advantage Canceled For Judges

BBeat: Feig-Rosenthal Puts $20k Into Campaign Since DUI Bust



That dang refusal! - people are talking about Lynn Feig-Rosenthal's pending DUI accusation.  It's been assigned to the Palm Beach SAO for prosecution, and is being reviewed for case filing purposes by ASAs Michael Smith  and Richard Clausi

The concern, of course, is the refusal.  Feig-Rosenthal agreed to breath testing, and blew zeroes.  However, when asked to provide a blood or urine sample, she said No.  She told police she had taken an Ambien the night before, which may have caused the erratic driving pattern.  The judge hit something on 595, then struck a police vehicle and a parking lot gate on courthouse property.  She allegedly filmed herself via smartphone, and the pc affidavit  says the video features her BMW swerving across lanes on the freeway.  There's also supposed to be surveillance footage from the courthouse showing the accidents, although it hasn't been made public yet.

Feig-Rosenthal is currently running for reelection, opposed by Jahra Mclawrence.  The DUI has thus become an election issue, exacerbating the normal concerns attendant to the arrest of any constitutional officer, particularly a law enforcement demigod.

The refusal has a lot of people scratching their heads.  Feig-Rosenthal is a circuit court judge, held to a higher standard of behavior.  She's supposed to lead by example, and comply with lawful requests by police officers.  Additionally, she was assigned to the criminal division at the time of her arrest, and was known as a zero tolerance judge.  Feig-Rosenthal may not have been beloved by the defense bar, but she was respected.  And now her failure to comply with testing has caused a lot of folks to lose faith.

Additionally, the refusal has sparked discussion regarding the possibility of something else being in Feig-Rosenthal's system besides Ambien.  Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said so publicly, on Channel 6.  And because the jail property inventory form, partially pictured above, shows she was booked with some type of MEDS in her possession, rumors around the courthouse have reached a fever pitch.

Of course, if Feig-Rosenthal had agreed to be tested by blood or urine, the entire controversy would have gone away.  But she didn't, and because whatever MEDS she did have were not listed in the pc affidavit, they aren't public record, and enjoy HIPAA protections.  That's where the big black line comes from, seen above. 

The arresting officer may not have found the MEDS to be relevant to the claim of impaired driving, or he may have listed them in an event report, which is not public record at this time.  And if the case is ultimately dropped, and the MEDS only appear on the property inventory form, it's likely they'll always enjoy the HIPAA shield. 

And now, back to the refusal.  As previously stated, if Feig-Rosenthal hadn't said No, the MEDS wouldn't be of the slightest interest.  But given the refusal, the redacted MEDS entry, and the portion of the pc affidavit where Feig-Rosenthal advises she doesn't suffer from any illnesses, it's only natural to echo the Public Defender's concern and ask if she was in possession of a validly prescribed controlled substance that could have lead to impaired driving.  After all, Feig-Rosenthal is a circuit judge, held to a higher standard, serving the public, with more power over the average individual than the President of the United States.  She's running for reelection, and the electorate should have all the facts before casting their vote.  Lastly, she was heading in to work, and may not have been in the proper state to sit in judgment of others.  Clearly valid concerns, and the people deserve an answer. 

The problem is, no one's talking.

Dave Aronberg, the State Attorney handling the case, won't comment on pending cases.  That's what his office told us, and rightly so. 

Feig-Rosenthal's lawyers aren't talking either.  When asked the controlled substance question, Carlos Canet said "no comment", while Brian Silber ignored multiple phone messages, and walked on by without acknowledging the repeated question when passed in the courthouse hallway last week.

Feig-Rosenthal, for her part, refused to answer Bob Norman'squeries as to why she refused, and still hasn't responded to our phone message concerning the controlled substance question left on her office voice mail last week.  The second voice mail query, whether she would waive HIPAA so the public can learn just what MEDS were in her possession, also remains unanswered.

But there's still hope.  Feig-Rosenthal's campaign manager agreed Wednesday evening to relay the concerns again to the candidate and her lawyers, and to get back to us.  Hopefully the judge will waive HIPAA, or just flat out state the listed MEDS aren't a controlled substance that could cause impaired driving, or a hazy morning on the bench.  It's a question of great public importance for all the reasons listed above, and should be answered so as to alleviate all legitimate worries.  For our part, we're optimistic Feig-Rosenthal will answer and put this controversy behind both her and the 17th Circuit in very short order, so stay tuned ...

BSO v. Bob Norman - when it comes to getting under your skin, JAABLOG is small fry compared to Bob Norman.  Have you been following all the mud being slung at the courthouse's favorite TV reporter over at The Broward Bugle?  Now WPLG 10 and the Sun Sentinel are fighting back.  Check out Bob's recently aired reports Operative Roger Stone aims dirty tricks at Local 10 reporter, Political operative lashes out at Local 10 crew, and Sheriff-tied political committee's first attack ad aimed at Local 10 reporter, together with a Sentinel editorial called Undue influence at Broward Sheriff's Office? #Ha.  All in a day's work for the intrepid Norman, who's learning everybody must get Stoned ...

- last week's mandatory judges' meeting taught us a valuable lesson.  JAABLOG needs to start paying attention to the civil side of the courthouse STAT.  It's been woefully neglected, and in dire need of a good old fashioned e-enema too.  But please remember, the Anonymous Tips box stopped working a long time ago, so send any tips and leads via email.  Anonymity is 100% guaranteed, but if you're still worried, just create a dummy email account and send away ...

Coming Soon - What did he ask Nick Lopane?; The judges didn't know there was a new jury room list either? ...

Trick Daddy Retains Andy Smallman

BrowardBulldog: Don Middlebrooks speaks up for Barry Cohen against JQC

SS: Stuart Rosenfeldt pleads guilty to conspiracy

Daily Mail: Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Florida You Judge: WPB judge says “I’m Going to Happy Hour”

Tampa Bay Times: Bumper stickers prompt charges against critic of Pinellas judge


Bob Norman caught up with Lynn Feig-Rosenthal this week, but she isn't answering his questions about the property receipt either.  According to the report, after spotting the camera, Feig-Rosenthal ditched into the bathroom for six minutes, only to emerge in silence, ignoring the question "What drugs did you have in your purse".

The video is here.

Channel 10 viewers aren't the only disappointed ones.  Feig-Rosenthal's campaign manager also failed to impress upon his candidate the importance of clearing the air.  As promised, he called back Thursday evening, stating his client was aware of the questions, but would not answer. 

Another sad day for Broward County ...

Coming Soon - JAABLOG fills in the blanks: 1.) Judge, isn't it true you had _______ on you when you were booked?; 2.) The problem in 4900 is _________ ...

LA Times: L.A. pays $215,000 to settle suit by man who wore KKK hood to meeting


 Rest In Peace

Father, musician, and lawyer Michael Holden passed away last night.  He had suffered a massive coronary, and passed peacefully in Hospice.  Scott Hecker, Michael's friend since high school, will be providing funeral information shortly.

Thoughts and prayers ...

MEMORIAL SERVICE- Friday, June 20th at 4:00 PM.  Sea Lake Ranches North Condominium, 5200 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308.  954-782-5151.


It's been a long time since the Florida Bar or Broward Bar Association (BCBA) issued a judicial poll for the 17th Circuit.  In fact, the only ones found online are this one from 2002  by the Bar, andthis one from 2008  by BCBA.  Rumor has it judges don't like being rated, which is reason enough for JAABLOG to pick up the ball and run.

So here's the deal.  Judges have been broken up by division assignments, and rank (county or circuit).  Larger divisions, like criminal, are subdivided by floor, so as not to overwhelm the voting public.  Groups of judges will go out every so often for rating, again so as not to overload those who care to share an opinion.  Votes will be cast in the form of your comments, and preserved online for anyone in the future searching for a Broward judicial poll or survey.

Ours is a lot less scientific than theirs, but much more than checking a box.  As previously stated, it's just your comments, which means you can be as detailed as desired.  Topic areas to consider are Intelligence Level, Integrity/Ethics, Demeanor & Temperament, Work Ethic, Efficiency & Office Management, and for circuit judges, Qualifications For Chief Judge
.  Check out the BCBA's 2008 categories for a more exhaustive list of criteria, or make up your own.  Anything you have to add is relevant, and the public has a right to know.

Judges rated thus far:

Ilona Holmes, Lisa Porter, Raag Singhal, Mike Rothschild & Matt Destry.

And now, currently up for consideration, it's circuit criminal 5th floor ...

  Barbara McCarthy        Paul Backman              Geoff Cohen               Bernie Bober

                                       Make Your Voice Heard ... Forever!

Coming Soon - Unfortunately, the worst thing yet ... ; 
Everybody's talking about Lynn Feig-Rosenthal's smile  ...

NYT: A Boy’s Execution, 70 Years Later



Will the Sun Sentinel endorse McLawrence? - that question would have been easy to answer before Lynn Feig-Rosenthal crashed her car, got arrested, refused drug testing, played games with her mug shot, refused to comment on whether the property receipt MEDS could have contributed to her erratic behavior, and failed to assure the community she's ok to decide peoples' fates while the DUI accusation is pending.  But now that a character issue has helped define the race for circuit court Group 8, the normally incumbent-loving Sentinel may be set to break with tradition and endorse the underdog.  Don't believe it?  Check out Tuesday's article here, following the editorial board's meet and greet with the candidates, and featuring the following quote by Jahra McLawrence:

"(W)hatever happened, she was about to take the bench, and she was about to rule on other people’s lives in that condition."

Rumor has it McLawrence may have already picked up some other key endorsements, so stay tuned ...

And the Judicial MVP Award goes too ... senior judge Fred Berman, for carrying two county court criminal divisions, and getting ready to pick up a third, on, get this, a part-time basis.  And that's not all.  He's whittled down Mary Robinson's division to a few hundred cases, to the point we're told Court Administration is getting ready to eliminate Division MM once and for all. 

Quite a feat, but hardly a surprise to anyone familiar with Peter Weinstein's woefully inefficient county criminal courts.  While there are many hard working and ambitious judges serving in the people's court, everyone knows there are others who are anything but.  It's just a shame a veteran judge had to get sick for Berman to prove the point beyond a doubt.  And if Weinstein would name a new Chief for county criminal to ensure an evenly distributed and efficiently managed workload, maybe he could withdraw this request for SIX new $134,000 a year county judges for Fiscal Year 2014/2015.  They're your tax dollars, after all ...

Speaking of Mary - is she returning soon?  That was the question lodged with Meredith Brooks, communication specialist for the 17th Circuit.  She's promised to ask Weinstein, who's out of town for a few days.  Wait and see ...

Thanks, Fred! - Fred Horowitz hasn't begged off his jury room responsibilities, thus far appearing every day this week as scheduled.  No one can accuse him of aiding a fellow judge's reelection campaign, that's for sure.  He's in there again Wednesday, with Jeff Levenson on deck for next week.  Well done!

Daubert primer
- Ira Still lays it all out in the most recent BACDL newsletter.

Coming Soon - Bob Norman drops a bomb; Mother Jones Magazine on Broward's PDO ...

LA Times: Cable TV boxes become 2nd biggest energy users in many homes

Mental Illness, The Florida Bar & You

NYT: In a .338 Lifetime Average, Every Day Counted



The Ambien defense has been asserted by another Florida judge, this time after a nod out in the middle of a hearing.  Key West judge Tegan Slaton, currently running for reelection, fell asleep on the bench June 12th, and had to be relieved by a colleague. 

"I stopped Ambien that day. I'll exchange loss of sleep for hallucinations any day ... Gonna go get Nyquil, something over the counter," Slaton told KeysInfoNet, describing hallucinations like "Fantasia and the dancing brooms" ...

According to Key West Citizen, Slaton has flatly denied a rumor in the legal community that he suffers from a drinking problem.  That article is found here

Whatever his health issues may be, Slaton certainly seems like a colorful character, who may want to compare notes with Lynn Feig-Rosenthal on her own recent Ambien mishap.  Who knows, they could prepare a joint presentation for judicial college regarding the woes of sleep aides, assuming both are reelected ...

Brannon v. Finkelstein update - we're told the 11th Circuit appeals court has relieved Howard Finkelstein of any personal liability in the lawsuit filed by Michael Brannon, while preserving a jury question as to whether or not Brannon was punished because of his Cheryl Aleman JQC testimony, or cut back because of budget issues and alleged hostile actions against the Public Defender.  Does a trial loom?  Stay tuned ...

LA Times: Barry Scheck on the O.J. trial, DNA evidence and the Innocence Project

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McLawrence/Rosenthal endorsements - FOP and Lori Parrish have endorsed Jahra McLawrence, while the PBA gave its support to Lynn Feig-Rosenthalbefore the DUI arrest, and without interviewing McLawrence first ...

Don't take my wife, please... - David Bogenschutz has filed motions to push back the effective date of Gardiner's disbarment, in order to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.  The filings are seen here.  Thanks to hohoho for the tip.  We'll be sure to get those motions posted online soon.

Fun with judicial apps - which of the following individuals does not appear on Gardiner's 1998 judicial application, recommending a ten year lawyer with one jury trial for the circuit court of Broward County?

1.) Dale Ross; 2.) Howard Zeidwig; 3.) Patty Cocalis; 4.) Charlie Greene; 5.) Ray Ferrero, Jr.;
6.) Lynn Futch; 7.) Hugh Maloney; 8.) Ed Benton; 9.) Andrew Leinoff;
10.) David Bogenschutz; 11.) Alfred E. Neuman.

Answer: #11.

Unfortunately, the letters of recommendation themselves aren't in the State Archives of Florida, but we're still digging ...

Thank you, New Times - it's always nice being compared to Socrates , although some judicial types probably employ less flattering terms when discussing JAABLOG ...

Coming Soon - My JA got a raise, did yours?; Hey Rick Scott - why did you stop posting applications of lawyers under consideration for the bench online? ...

DBR: Defendant No Longer, Finkelstein Says He Was Threatened By Psychologist

SS: Court revives psychologist's lawsuit against Broward Public Defender's Office

JEAC 2014-12 says Challengers can say Rick Scott appointed my opponent

NYT: Slip Slidin' Away

NYT: RIP Gerry Goffin