Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to Stay Safe On Your Next Cruise!

Safely and carefully enter your cabin, move your bed to the center of the room, stay away from windows, doors, toilets, and showers; avoid food, drinks, excursions, entertainment of all kinds; refrain from contact with other passengers and crew members -- then exit your cabin when the cruise is over!

And have an awesome vacation!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Marco Rubio, Do Your Job (Part CDXXVII)!

I know no one really reads the Herald anymore, let alone the editorials, so let me highlight a surprisingly vigorous position taken by our local paper of (little) record:
Even routine business was neglected this year, and 2016 won’t be better. The Senate has confirmed 135 Obama executive nominees this year, but many more are languishing in Congress. One of these is for the vacant post of undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, for which Mr. Obama nominated someone in April. By comparison, in George W. Bush’s seventh year, a Democratic Senate confirmed 234 nominees in 2007. Meanwhile, only 10 judicial vacancies have been confirmed this year, leaving 66 benches open, the slowest pace for confirmations in more than half a century.

That's just wrong, as wrong as obfuscating your extremist position on abortion (no exceptions ever) or failing to return that stupid blue slip. 

Come on, people, we can do better!

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article46569555.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Anyone Remember Billionaire Jeff Greene?

Remember that time Jeff Greene ran for Senate?

Well the Miami Herald still does:
Billionaire Jeff Greene‘s libel suit against the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald newspapers is still on after a court-ordered mediation in the case didn’t result in a settlement.

Times attorney Alison Steele, a partner in the St. Petersburg law firm of Rahdert, Steele, Reynolds & Driscoll, told FloridaPolitics.com on Tuesday that Steele also has filed an amended complaint in his lawsuit.
The new filing “amplified his allegations of a joint venture by the Times and Herald to derail Greene’s Senate candidacy,” she said in an email. A call to L. Lin Wood, Greene’s Atlanta-based lawyer, was not returned.

Greene, a 60-year-old real estate developer from Palm Beach, ran as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in 2010. The seat eventually was won by current Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, now a presidential candidate.

Greene has claimed that the newspapers derailed his Senate campaign their reporting alleged fraudulent real estate deals and wild parties on his 145-foot yacht. Democrat Kendrick Meek, a former state senator, went on to win the Democratic primary.

According to a New York Times account, one story insinuated that former boxer Mike Tyson, best man at Greene’s wedding, had used drugs on the yacht. The Times later ran a rare front-page clarification, with Tyson saying he did not use drugs on Greene’s yacht.
First off, Tyson didn't use drugs on a billionaire's yacht?

Ok....if you say so.....

Also, a NYT front page apology  -- that's more than they did with Judith Miller!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Exactly Is the Problem Here?

This seems like a perfectly normal South Florida story:
The Supreme Court once predicted that “[t]here may be situations in which it is difficult to tell whether a government entity is speaking on its own behalf or is providing a forum for private speech.” Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460, 470, 129 S. Ct. 1125, 1132 (2009). This appeal presents one of those situations. David Mech complains that the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, violated his constitutional right to free speech, U.S. Const., amends. I, XIV, when three of its schools removed banners for Mech’s tutoring business from their fences. The schools removed the banners after they discovered that Mech’s tutoring business shares a mailing address with his pornography business.
So he's diversified like a big corporation, big deal!

In fact, I like this guy:
David Mech has a unique resume. He provides a math tutoring service in Palm Beach County under the name “The Happy/Fun Math Tutor.” He has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree from Arizona State University, and is enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Florida Atlantic University. He has taught mathematics at Palm Beach State College and is certified to teach secondary math in Florida. Mech is also a retired porn star. He has performed in hundreds of pornographic films. And he owns Dave company that formerly produced pornography. The Happy/Fun Math Tutor and Dave Pounder Productions share a mailing address in Boca Raton, Florida.
That's pretty much half of all Boca addresses, as far as I can tell.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear Ramon: Stop Stealing My Act!

Is our legal future a flattened, computer-driven Uber/Amazon data delivery model?

Let me find a quiet, peaceful spot to contemplate this all.....

Friday, November 20, 2015

You Still Have Ten Days to Vote for Our Federal Public Defender!

Well, not vote per se, but you can comment on Mike Caruso's job performance as part of the reappointment process:
In accordance with regulations of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit governing the appointment and reappointment of Federal Public Defenders, a review committee has been established to evaluate Mr. Caruso’s performance in consideration of his request to be reappointed to a new four-year term. The Committee is soliciting written comments from members of the bar and concerned citizens about the performance of Mr. Caruso and his office staff. If requested, the identity of a respondent to this solicitation will not be divulged without prior consent. However, Mr. Caruso will be provided with a general description of the source and nature of any comments. Comments should be submitted to James P. Gerstenlauer, Circuit Executive, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 56 Forsyth Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, and must be received in the Circuit Executive=s Office no later than 30 November 2015.
Ok, so the identity of a particular respondent will not be divulged, but Mike will "be provided with a general description of the source and nature of any comments."

Come on -- he's gonna know!

But that's fine, he's done a good job and deserves reappointment.

Note to review committee -- please be sure to provide Mike with a general description of the source and nature of my comments!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hand-Pulled Noodles All the Way From the 305 to the 11th Circuit!

That's one long noodle tug:
This appeal arises from a dispute over Chinese food.
One of my favorite topics!

Also, I learned this:
There is no period following the “Mr” in “Mr Chow.”
Good to know!

In other news, the whackadoodles in Tally want to restrict the power of the judiciary again: 
So now, here we are again trying to show the judges who’s boss. The bills HJR 197 and SJR 322 are a priority of the incoming Speaker of the House, Richard Corcoran. The bill would amend the Constitution by limiting appellate court judges and Supreme Court justices to two six-year terms.

What problem are they trying to address? Voters have the ability to remove them from the bench now through a retention vote.

Here’s why it’s a bad idea:

▪ It smells like retaliation. We lose good, experienced judges and justices arbitrarily.
▪ It might be more difficult to attract good applicants with lawyers unwilling to give up their practices for a short-term opportunity.
▪ There will be a tremendous loss of institutional knowledge, particularly important at the appellate level.
▪ More frequent governor appointments would skew the ideology and independence of the courts.
What a bunch of doofuses -- please work to defeat these awful pieces of legislation.

Finally, today is an opportunity to do good:
Give Miami Day is the biggest annual giving event in South Florida.  This year, we will again ignite Greater Miami for 24 hours on November 19th.  We made history on Give Miami Day 2014, raising $5.2 million for 520 local nonprofits from more than 19,000 donors spanning the city, nation and globe. 

Give Miami Day allows all individuals in our community to make a philanthropic impact by collectively supporting our local nonprofit organizations.  Twenty-four hours of giving begins at midnight on November 19 and ends at midnight on November 20, 2015.  Throughout the day, individuals may view online profiles of more than 500 nonprofit organizations serving Miami-Dade County and make a charitable gift here on givemiamiday.org.

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 19 through givemiamiday.org.
What's not to like?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

3d DCA Watch -- Somebody Else Sued a Cruise Line!

Are there other cruise ship lawyers in town?

Not that I know of, but evidently they exist according to this 3d DCA opinion finding admiralty jurisdiction in a disembarkation accident at the Port of Miami.

And that's all the bunker really put out there today -- guess they're in holiday mode already.

Happy Hump Day, Plebes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Marco Rubio, Do Your Job!


It's "just not fun" that Rubio continues to refuse to turn in the blue slip necessary to get a vote on Mary Barzee Flores' nomination to fill an "emergency seat" on the SD FL.

Here is Senator Leahy yesterday on the failure to get qualified judicial nominees on the federal bench:
In the eleven months that the Senate has been under Republican control this year, the Senate has only voted to confirm 9 judges.  This obstruction has resulted in needless delays for hard-working Americans who seek justice in our Federal courts.  Currently pending on the Senate floor are nominees who would fill judicial emergency vacancies in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Minnesota, New Jersey, Iowa, New York, and California.  Senate Republicans have refused to alleviate the urgent needs in those states.  It does not have to be this way.  When Senate Democrats were in the majority during the last two years of the Bush presidency, we had already confirmed 36 judges by this same time.  We made sure that we fulfilled our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to ensure that the American people had a fully functioning Federal judiciary.
Senate Republicans’ obstruction has caused judicial vacancies to pile up across the country.  Since Senate Republicans took over the majority at the beginning of the year, judicial vacancies have increased by more than 50 percent.  The number of “judicial emergency” vacancies since Senate Republicans took the majority has risen by a stunning 158 percent.  The American people deserve better. 

We should follow well-established Senate precedent by confirming all consensus nominees before the end of the year.  Each of the judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar was reported out of the Judiciary Committee by unanimous voice vote.  And each has the backing of their home state Senators, including Republican Senators.  In fact, the next nominee after Ms. Hall and Judge Restrepo is Travis McDonough who has been nominated to fill a judicial vacancy on the Eastern District of Tennessee.  Next week will mark the one year anniversary since Mr. McDonough was nominated, but it appears there is no relief in sight as his nomination continues to be held up by Senate Republicans, despite the strong support he has from his home state Senators, Senator Alexander and Senator Corker.  I see no reason why he and the rest of the nominees pending should not be confirmed before we recess at the end of the year.  As the New York Times put it in an editorial last Friday urging confirmation votes on all pending judicial nominees, “With each day that passes without a vote on Judge Restrepo and other nominees, Republicans undermine the justice system, and the biggest victims are ordinary Americans who cannot count on fully functioning courts.”
Enough already!

In fact, Senator Reid today actually addressed the specific issue of Rubio's mistreatment of Mary's nomination: 
Republicans should also help us to confirm Judge Mary Barzee Flores to the Southern District Court of Florida. Unfortunately, Judge Barzee Flores’ nomination has been held up due to the same delaying tactics that Senator Toomey used to stall Judge Restrepo. But this nominee is being delayed by one of the many Republicans running for President – the junior Senator from Florida.

Senators Nelson and Rubio jointly recommended Judge Barzee Flores to the Southern District Court of Florida.  President Obama nominated Ms. Flores on February 26, 2015, eight months ago. This Miami-based seat is considered another judicial emergency. It has been without a Senate-confirmed judge for more than a year.

Like her counterpart in Pennsylvania, Judge Barzee Flores has an impeccable record. In fact, her nomination won wide praise in the Florida press.  She’s a familiar face to many in the legal community in South Florida, having served on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami for more than a decade. Prior to her judicial service, Judge Barzee Flores worked as a public defender for 13 years. By any measure, Judge Barzee Flores is well qualified and deserves a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

Senator Bill Nelson indicated his support eight months ago. But Senator Rubio refuses to sign off on Judge Barzee Flores and he is the only obstacle stopping the nomination from moving forward. It’s puzzling that Senator Rubio is delaying a judge that he helped recommend to President Obama.

Without Senator Rubio’s approval, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee will not schedule a hearing on the Barzee Flores nomination. Even with his busy schedule, Senator Rubio should be able to find thirty seconds to sign the blue slip paperwork that would allow Judge Barzee Flores to move forward with a hearing. The junior Senator from Florida simply needs to sign a piece of paper to advance a qualified nominee he recommended.  Using Senator Toomey’s playbook, he refuses to do so – and his constituents are paying the price.
Enough already (already)!

Monday, November 16, 2015

RIP Magistrate Judge Peter Palermo.

Very sad news as we mourn the passing of Magistrate Judge Peter Palermo.

Here is a wonderful article on him from a few years ago:
Born in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pa., he was the fourth child – wedged between five sisters and a brother – of a businessman and a stay-at-home, no-nonsense mother. He tossed enough newspapers to be named the leading newsboy in Pittsburgh at age 11. He excelled in school and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941. His plans for law school at Dickinson University in Carlisle, Pa., were dashed when events interceded during World War II and he was drafted as a private into the United States Army Air Corps. He would rise in rank to Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, then Major Sergeant, eventually bringing him to Miami Beach for officer candidate school a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He went on to the invasion of North Africa and the liberation of Naples, Italy. For his service and valor, he was awarded the Bronze Star and six Battle Stars.

Recalling his first days in South Florida, Judge Palermo said he was amused by Miami society: "I'm Italian. In Pittsburgh, I was a Yankee. Now, I'm considered an Anglo in Miami. If you went back to Pittsburgh or New York and told them we were Anglos, they would have laughed."
Actually, Judge P had an infectious laugh and brought joy and good cheer everywhere he went.