Friday, November 21, 2014

Descent Into Depravity!

Yes, I'm still stinging from the narrow defeat of Amendment 2. Medical marijuana should be a nonissue. It is inarguably safer than most of the Rx drugs on the market and the evidence is pouring in that it has broad medical applications. Either the legislature will act to bring the compassionate use of medical marijuana to Florida soon, or advocates like myself will get this issue on the ballot again in 2016. Then, the logic goes, a larger percentage of younger voters will give us a better shot of hitting that 60% mark.

The real discussion we should be having is on outright legalization. We already know that marijuana is far less deadly than our 2 legal recreational drugs – alcohol and tobacco. And by 'less deadly' I mean not deadly at all. I have yet to see a single so-called 'marijuana related death' that did not contain a mix of individual factors that would have led to death without marijuana in the equation.

Sure, Colorado has seen a spike of emergency room visits for marijuana overdoses. Headlines of such events are splashed all over the nation. But the thing about those 'emergencies' is that while they are frighting for the victim, they are NEVER lethal. No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose. The same cannot be said of alcohol or nicotine.

But marijuana is a drug that affects the mind! Watch now as its sinister evil turns these mild-mannered grandmothers into depraved hussies – cursing at the dawn – spitting violence and death upon themselves and all around them.

This is what we must prevent! This is what we cannot allow! What about the children?

*possible NSFW for language

(actually they just chilled, played some games, and laughed a little)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Immigration Imagination

While the talking heads at Fox News are having a collective heart attack over Emperor Obama's pending immigration reforms, Fox News Latino has an entirely different take.
Any day now, President Obama will announce his executive action on immigration, and conservative lawmakers are not happy. "This is the wrong way to govern,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to the White House warning the president against taking executive action, and questioning his authority to do so. 
Like it or not, the president has authority to act alone on immigration. Not only has the Supreme Court recognized the president’s discretion over immigration matters, presidents have been taking unilateral action on immigration for decades.   
Under Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president is required to “take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Broadly speaking, President Obama has fulfilled this responsibility. He is responsible for record levels of deportations, and his administration spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement in 2012. Every night, there are roughly 34,000 undocumented immigrants in detention. So it is a stretch to charge that Obama is not “faithfully executing” immigration laws.    
Yet just as the president has the duty to enforce immigration laws, he has the power to set immigration enforcement priorities. 
Wouldn't it be funny if the people from Fox News read the reporting by Fox News Latino? Or what if they met in a bar sometime?

And remember to GIVE. 

I Have Found the World's Most Boring Civil Case!

I actually dozed off twice while reading it.

Any opinion that takes thirteen pages before you even know what the case is about or what claims are being asserted should be warning that two cups of coffee will be necessary to get through it:
Finally, the SRA reiterated ANI’s reporting obligations, including ANI’s duty to provide, on written request, copies of all purchase orders verifying the sale price for all sales by it or any of its affiliated companies, id., § 4(d), and, on reasonable notice, any invoices, policies, or related documents underlying any storage expenses deducted from Zaki’s share of the sales, id. at 24, § 6(c). ANI also promised to account separately for each of the three lots Zaki had consigned to it. Id. at 25, § 8(e).
That's pretty much the highlight right there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Give! Give! Give!

Tomorrow is the big day!
Give Miami Day is a unique, online giving event that provides everyone in the community an opportunity to build a greater Miami through philanthropy. During the 24-hour period between midnight November 20 and midnight November 21, individuals may view online profiles of more than 500 nonprofit organizations serving Miami-Dade County and make a charitable gift here on 
You can search and give to organizations doing the work you believe is best for Miami-Dade, which makes it easy to support the causes you care about. 
The Miami Foundation, Knight Foundation and our partners will maximize the community’s generosity by making a bonus gift for every donation between $25 and $10,000 received on November 20 through 
We never hit you with ads on this blog, we never ask for money, and we never try to sell you anything. But if you could give a little to a good cause we sure would appreciate it.

3d DCA Watch -- And the Bunker Is a Hazy Shade of Winter!

Can you feel that chill in the air?

Given the heavily-fortified nature of the bunker, once those thick slabs of concrete get cold it takes approximately fourteen months for the building to warm up again.

But no worries -- the denizens are ready, having already broken out their cold-weather gear and modified their routines for winter (Thinsulate-lined Resplendent Robes, coffee heated to a scalding 78 degrees, burning of the law clerks' desks and chairs to warm the judges' chambers, ritual "hugging" conferences overseen by the Chief Judge and held in the mechanical room/gym to conserve heat, you know, the usual).

So all of this has put a little "spring in their step" of our favorite band of sometime-appellate judges, so let's check in:

U.S. Bank v. Whyte:

When I saw this was an appeal of a Judge Donner decision, my first thought was -- "did it involve sanctions"?

It did:
In this mortgage foreclosure action, U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for CSFB Heat 2006-6 (“U.S. Bank”), the plaintiff below, appeals from an order striking its pleadings and dismissing this case with prejudice for failure to comply with a discovery order. For the following reasons, we reverse.
Nieves v. Viera:

No automatic evidentiary hearing requirement in med mal case involving whether pre-suit requirements were met.

(It's all about the standard of review.)

Stockinger v. Zeilberger:

Judge Saurez, getting metaphysical:
In other words, although the trial court MAY dismiss the Petitioners, it has not done so nor did it state that it WOULD do so, only that it MAY do so. As such, no irreparable harm has occurred at this point.
We GET it, Judge (but Judge Rothenberg does NOT).

Morla v. Armani:

Judge Salter holds his nose:
Roy Morla appeals an order dismissing his case for lack of prosecution.  Although this case is well past its sell-by date, we are constrained by Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.420(e) and our own precedent to vacate the order of dismissal and remand the case for further (and, hopefully, more active) prosecution.
Hope springs eternal!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Truth or Consequences/Schoolboy Blues -- A Reinterpretation!

Here's a reinterpretation of that order from yesterday using a different jumping off point:
In 1970, toward the end of the Rolling Stones' contract with Decca Records, the label demanded that the Stones release their final single on Decca per contract before they could move to their self-owned record label, Rolling Stones Records.  In a farewell "flip off" to the staid suited Decca record execs, the Stones recorded a wildly salacious number that had no hope of ever becoming a hit record for their former label.  The bawdy lyrics, unprintable for the most part here, include "I ain't got no money/But I know where to put it every time."

In the instant copyright infringement case, Plaintiff, Lorelei Television, C.A. (“Plaintiff” or “Lorelei”) did not "know where to put it every time" in discovery and it now must do what the schoolboy in that infamous song must do -- confront the consequences. Unlike the consequences envisioned in Mick Jagger's parting shot to his former label, however, the consequences here will not be happy for Plaintiff. On the other hand, the consequences will fall short of the full‐fledged happiness enjoyed by that young lonesome schoolboy in Leicester Square.
Hey, this is fun!

We Answer To A Higher Authority

Does anyone remember the Zion Coptics? They tried and failed to make the case that their religious liberties trumped the law, and that the 1st Amendment allowed them to smoke copious amounts of righteous herb. They were easy to dismiss back in the day; long-haired, lazy, pot smoking hippies.

That same claim is back, this time from a more 'respectable' source.
When Emily Herx first took time off work for in vitro fertilization treatment, her boss offered what sounded like words of support: "You are in my prayers." Soon those words took on a more sinister meaning. The Indiana grade school where Herx was teaching English was Catholic. And after church officials were alerted that Herx was undergoing IVF—making her, in the words of one monsignor, "a grave, immoral sinner"—it took them less than two weeks to fire her. 
Herx filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2012. In response, St. Vincent de Paul School and the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, her former employers, countered with an argument used by a growing number of religious groups to justify firings related to IVF treatment or pregnancies outside of marriage: Freedom of religion gives them the right to hire (or fire) whomever they choose. But the diocese took one big step further. It is arguing that, in this instance, its religious liberty rights protect the school from having to go to court at all.
Funny thing, watching that video I learned that Thomas Reilly, also known as Brother Louv, was/is(?) a raging homophobe who decried abortion and contraception. He has more in common with the Catholics than I realized!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's Play an Old Game Show From the 50s!

All my references are in black and white!
During many years between 1950 and 1988, CBS, NBC and others involved in the syndication industry broadcast the television game show “Truth or Consequences.” The long‐running show involved contestants selected from the studio audience who could either “tell the truth” (i.e., correctly answer a question) or be forced to pay the consequences (i.e., perform a stunt, usually wacky or zany). Several personalities hosted the show over the years, but Bob Barker (who also hosted “The Price is Right” from 1972 – 2007) had the longest reign, from 1957 to 1975. Mr. Barker’s signoff ended with the phrase, “Hoping all your consequences are happy ones.”1

In the instant copyright infringement case, Plaintiff, Latele Television, C.A. (“Plaintiff” or “Latele”) did not tell the truth in discovery and it now must confront the consequences. Unlike the consequences envisioned in Mr. Barker’s final comments to the game show television audience, however, the consequences here will not be happy for Plaintiff. On the other hand, the consequences will fall short of the full‐fledged happiness urged by Defendants.2
Ok, let's break this down -- first, it's true the show had a revival into the 80s (like the Twilight Zone), but it is really associated with black-and-white television from the 50s.

Second, the extra detail about Bob Barker is vintage Judge Goodman -- keep it coming!

Finally, he  takes a while but does close the loop in the second paragraph, finishing with a reference to Barker's signature sign-off.  Well-done.

This is going to be a great Monday!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

11 Or Bust!

I was going to take a whacky weekend off, but then this happened.
An administrative law judge on Friday ordered the Florida Department of Health to start over and map out a new plan for growing, processing and selling a form of medical marijuana, known as Charlotte's Web. 
Judge W. David Watkins of the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, rejected the idea of a controversial lottery to pick the nurseries that would grow the plants, a decision that could impact when the marijuana oil will be available to patients.
And this.
Florida has long defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In 2008, voters amended the Florida Constitution to reaffirm that policy. The United States Constitution does not prohibit Florida or its voters from making that choice, and the district court’s contrary conclusion was wrong. As the Supreme Court has recognized, States have the virtually exclusive authority to define and regulate marriage. Consistent with that authority, States may choose to allow same-sex marriage, as several States have. But States may also choose to maintain a traditional definition of marriage, as several other States have. Principles of federalism leave the choice to the States.  
The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Baker v. Nelson is consistent with these principles. In Baker, the plaintiffs claimed the Fourteenth Amendment required States to allow same-sex marriage, the same claim the plaintiffs present here. The Supreme Court’s summary dismissal was a decision on the merits that rejected those claims, and it is binding on this Court. None of the more recent Supreme Court cases undermine Baker, much less overrule it. In fact, the Supreme Court’s most recent decision regarding same-sex marriage, United States v. Windsor, is fully consistent with the principle that federalism allows States to define marriage.

And very sadly this.
An Army veteran beaten by a man he met at a bar died Saturday afternoon, nearly a week after being hospitalized with burns so bad that parts of both arms had to be amputated, police and his partner said. Veteran Stephen Patrick White, 46, died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, authorities said. Greensboro Police spokeswoman Susan Danielsen confirmed the death when contacted by The Associated Press. She said a 26-year-old man, Garry Joseph Gupton, has now been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the beating last Sunday.  
Now I'm going back to my margaritas which, for the record, are strictly made with lime, brown sugar, Cointreau, and any high quality golden tequila.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Florida Supreme Court Did Something!

No wonder Scott wanted to pack the Court with Amendment 3:
However, the trial court consistently ruled that these documents were relevant as important circumstantial evidence of the claim that Bainter and other political consultants engaged in “a parallel redistricting process” to the open and transparent process championed by the Legislature, which was  “conducted in the shadows” in an effort to “subvert[] the public process” and produce an unconstitutional “partisan map favoring Republicans and incumbents.”
You don't say!  

You mean politicians do things like that?  Mercy!

In conclusion she makes a few good points about why the court system exists in the first place:
This Court has, for years, held that a “search for truth and justice,” as our court system and our constitution demand, “can be accomplished only when all relevant facts are before the judicial tribunal.” Binger, 401 So. 2d at 1313 (quoting Dodson v. Persell, 390 So. 2d 704, 707 (Fla. 1980)). “Those relevant facts,” this Court has explained, “should be the determining factor rather than gamesmanship, surprise, or superior trial tactics.” Id.

In this case, the trial court repeatedly determined that the non-parties possessed relevant documents that were within the scope of the lawful discovery requests issued by the challengers, as authorized by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Yet, the non-parties defied the trial court’s repeated rulings on relevancy and now seek to prevent the discovery on a basis not raised in the trial court until the day after the trial court held them in contempt of court for their failure to produce the documents. The non-parties’ belated assertions of a qualified First Amendment privilege have, based on the totality of the circumstances, therefore been waived. In addition, their trade secrets claim is wholly devoid of merit.

Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s ruling requiring production of the 538 pages of disputed documents. For all these reasons, and in accordance with the overriding public interest in openness to judicial proceedings and records, we direct that the sealed portions of the trial transcript, as well as the sealed documents themselves, should be and hereby are ordered unsealed.
Please stick around Judge Pariente!