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Criminal Law


Coverage of the Broward County, Fla., courts and judiciary.
By Bill Gelin,Brian Reidy, Vivian Gariboldi, Donald Cannarozzi, and Jeffrey Ivashuk.

Post Frequency: 21.4/day

Last Entry: April 16, 2014 at 21:30:00

Recent Entries: 1779

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Posted on April 16, 2014
Nice scoop by the DBR's Adolfo Pesquera, who received an early copy of the JQC's findings concerning Laura Watson.From yesterday's article: "Judges are held to stricter ethical standards than lawyers because more rectitude is expected of them," Evander said...


Posted on April 16, 2014
Dan Lewis, CEO of Strategic Technologies & Research, has been a strong supporter of Laura Watson not only during her election campaign, but throughout the JQC proceedings.  The message below is by Dan in support of Watson.  On another note, Dan let slip there are some "surprises" coming up regarding the 2014 election cycle in both Broward and Palm Beach counties...


Posted on April 16, 2014
The following email, entitled "Media Inquiry", was sent to Peter Weinstein and copied to his JA last Friday, April 11th.  Absent some initial pleasantries, the email has been reprinted in its entirety.  As of the time of this post, Weinstein has failed to answer any of the questions posed, despite an indicated deadline of 5:00 PM, April 14th...


Posted on April 10, 2014
LEAVE ALL FIELDS BLANK IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO POST YOUR COMMENTS ANONYMOUSLY(except the security code; it stops spam, and is the only required field)A question of leadership ...Coming Soon: RRA Update: some judges too?; McLawrence v. Rosenthal?; Scherer out, Merrigan in to Criminal?; Blacks Will Apply.

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Posted on April 01, 2014
A witness says Tony Livoti was sentenced to ten years this morning in Federal Court for his role in the Mutual Benefits scheme, following conviction after trial.  If he completes a drug and alcohol program, a year will be shaved off the sentence...


Posted on March 31, 2014
A BSO Crime Lab rep just told us Jim Ongley, former Director, and Randy Hilliard, former chemist, are "retired" as of last Friday.No info on who the new boss is.  We'll be sure to follow-up on that issue, and as to why so many drug cases are stacked up for testing...


Posted on March 31, 2014
"Because I have faith in people" - that's Peter Weinstein to Bob Norman, defending his decision to keep Gisele Pollack in drug court, earlier today.  The chief judge also confirmed Gisele's relapse, and stated professionals said it was ok to keep her riding herd over a bunch of druggies after incident #1...


Posted on March 26, 2014
 Bill SchererDiversity in Broward catches a break: judge maker Bill Scherer is a Judicial Diversity Task Force member!  Check out all the members of the Florida Bar's newly created Judicial Diversity Panel below.  These are the folks who really can make a big difference over the next couple months while Ed Merrigan's county seat is filled...


Posted on March 23, 2014
Blacks need apply - there's a deepening diversity crisis in the 17th Circuit judiciary.  With Mary Robinson on extended medical leave, and Ian Richards under attack at the polls, Broward is in grave danger of losing badly needed Black representation on the bench...


Posted on March 21, 2014
All indications point to Ed Merrigan being appointed to circuit court this morning, although this is still not confirmed.Merrigan's victory was predicted, and now conventional wisdom has Dan Kanner taking over Merrigan's county spot.  Wait and see ...


Posted on March 17, 2014
 Sorry, merit based entry only (for a change) ...There's an exclusive club in Broward County, and probably in your town too.  The First Degree Murder Club, or FDMC for short.  Lawyers with two or more not guilty verdicts in First Degree Murder cases...


Posted on March 12, 2014
 Guest columnist Charlie Gasko writes:The RRA meltdown is close to resolving.  As reported in the local newspaper, plenty more legal types will be facing charges.  I'm thinking maybe around twenty.  Deals are being made behind the scenes, since the statute of limitations is about to run...


Posted on March 11, 2014
            LEADERSHIPOff and running - Gene Pettis and Howard Finkelstein are pulling together as a team.  As previously reported, the President of the Florida Bar requested something in writing from Broward's Public Defender concerning the wildly disproportionate rates of minority occupancy in the State's jails and prisons due to non-violent crimes, and boy did he get it...


Posted on March 03, 2014
 Oh Mike, not again ...The BSO Crime lab scandal is growing.  Lawyers are reminded not to plea any cases involving drugs tested by Kelli McDonald until further notice.  Close to 6000 cases could be called into question, so make sure to carefully peruse those lab reports before jumping on any sweet offers...


Posted on February 27, 2014
The Fourth DCA is in the house TODAY, February 27th, starting at 1:30 PM in Room 416.  The schedule is here.  Come root for the home team, and don't forget to bring a copy of your favorite opinion for autographing afterwards.


Posted on February 27, 2014
1.) GOLD WATCH TIME - make sure to drop by the North Wing 7th Floor conference room FRIDAY, February 28th, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, to say bon voyage to Denise Goodsmith.  After more than eleven years working with Andy Siegel, and a couple more decades JA'ing before that, Denise is calling it quits...


Posted on February 26, 2014
Mary Robinson is doing great, but due to the normal rehab schedule, John Fry will be taking over her division.  Steven Shutter will be handling Fry's duties up at the north satellite.  The switch may be happening as early as this week, much to the relief of the county judges who have been taking turns covering Robinson's docket...


Posted on February 18, 2014
Kevin Kulik and Mitch Polay spent the last five days trying to pick a jury in the death penalty trial of accused Dunkin' Donuts killer  James Herard, only to be stymied by the Florida Supreme Court.  It's not often one death penalty proceeding interrupts another, but that's exactly what happened today, after the Supremes issued this Order  this morning in the Robert Henry matter...


Posted on February 17, 2014
Good from Bad - maybe the Florida Bar isn't so bad after all.  Today Bar President Eugene Pettis hosted a meeting concerning selective enforcement of the drug laws over at his place, with Howard Finkelstein appearing by phone.  It came about after a chance encounter at the West Palm Beach courthouse a few weeks back...


Posted on February 12, 2014
Thanks, Buddy - it seems everyone around the courthouse really enjoyed BrowardBeat's take on Cohen v. Blog, at least from the feedback we got.  And while critics are correct that the high road wasn't taken by either party before things spun out of control, absolutely everyone is wondering what could have prompted the other guy to cross into the creep zone...


Posted on February 11, 2014
JQC v. WATSON - it's almost over, folks.  The JQC has rested, and the Defense already started with its character witnesses.  Tuesday saw Tom Lynch and Watson's childhood friend/JNC member Terrence O'Connor going to bat for the embattled judge...


Posted on February 10, 2014
Laura Watson's JQC trial began this morning in Room 347.  A Federal judge denied her request for injunction over the weekend.  No word yet on whether the judge was in his pajamas working from home when the Order was issued, wearing golf apparel or a bathing suit, or whether he had to make a special trip to his office before ruling...


Posted on February 07, 2014
Peter Weinstein has sent an email detailing the full recovery of Mary Robinson.  She's alert, hanging with her family,  and raring to go.  The coma was apparently induced, to reduce swelling in the brain.Great news, for a change ....


Posted on February 07, 2014
Recently, lawyers have been asking, where's Laura Watson?  She hasn't been handling a docket for a few days, but her well earned hiatus hasn't been spent idling by the pool.  Watson's been busy indeed, with her JQC trial set to start this Monday, February 10th at 10:00 AM, in Room 347...


Posted on February 06, 2014
Thoughts and prayers go out to the Robinson family, as Mary remains in critical condition following a mid-trial collapse yesterday afternoon around 5:00 PM.  Obviously this is a time to respect the Robinson family's privacy, but in light of the fact mainstream media is aware of the situation and the abundant courthouse rumors, this has been posted...


Posted on January 27, 2014
 Barry Stone (2011)Fourth DCA alum/senior judge Barry Stone is taking over Cindy Imperato's division full time, starting February 10th.  All hearings will be set via Imperato's office in the North Wing, where Stone will share space with Imperato until Peter Weinstein moves her back to Criminal full time...


Posted on January 23, 2014
Is everybody having fun so far?We're not.  That sickening feeling just won't go away.  Walk into any Broward felony courtroom, and it'll grip you too, if you've got half a heart.  Damn near everyone in custody is Black, same as the folks in the pews waiting for their cases to be called...


Posted on January 21, 2014
John Fry, Ed Merrigan, Dan Kanner, Tony Loe, Abbe Rifkin, and Steve Zaccor are before Rick Scott for consideration to replace O'Connor ...


Posted on January 21, 2014
                           WHO WILL THE NEW COURTHOUSE BE NAMED AFTER?                    (Weinstein, Robinson, Ross, Diaz, and Tobin are but five possibilities)                            POST YOUR SUGGESTION IN THE COMMENTS SECTIONPeter Weinstein's MLK Day message, sent via email on January 17th:I was reminiscing with my brother on the phone this morning and we remembered when our dad, who was then a State Assemblyman in New York traveled to Washington to attend and support Dr...


Posted on January 18, 2014
We hold that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages ... Federal Court of Appeals Opinion.A panel of 9th Circuit judges rules that bloggers have the same 1st Amendment protections as traditional news media ...

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