Thursday, November 19, 2009

News & Notes (Fins edition)

It's been a long day, so I'm trying to cheer up in watching the Fins. So far, so good. 14-3 as we speak. Here we go with some news & notes:

1. Who wants to be a Magistrate? There's an opening in the District. The salary is $160K and to apply, you need to be less than 70, a member in good standing of the bar for 5 years, and not related to any judge in the district. Chief Judge Moreno has put together this selection committee:

Chair:David Rothman, Esq.
Rothman & Associates, P.A.

Georgie Angones (non-attorney)
Assistant Dean, Development & Alumni Relations

Jacqueline Becerra, Esq.

Greenberg Traurig PA

Robert Brochin, Esq.
Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Maria Christina Enriquez (non-attorney)

Paul Huck, Jr., Esq.
Colson Hicks Eidson

Manuel Kadre, Esq.

Todd Omar Malone, Esq.
The Malone Law Firm

Sonia Escobio O'Donnell, Esq.
Jorden Burt LLP

Vivian Perez-Siam (non-attorney)

Abigail Price-Williams, Esq.
Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office

Joseph Raia, Esq.
Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, PA

Alejandro Soto (non-attorney)
President & CEO, Insource, Inc.

Let's hope the committee acts more quickly than Obama.

2. More Liberty City sentencings today (AP). Judge Lenard has been sentencing the defendants to what looks like reasonable sentences in light of the facts of this case even though the government has been asking for 30+ year sentences:

Four men described as soldiers in a terrorism plot to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices have each been sentenced to less than a decade behind bars, far less than federal prosecutors sought.
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard, in sentencing hearings Wednesday and Thursday, said the four were followers who participated far less than ringleader Narseal Batiste in discussions about possible terrorist attacks. The conversations were recorded by the FBI using an informant posing as an al-Qaida operative.
The plot never got past the discussion stage, which has led defense attorneys and national terrorism experts to describe the case as overblown since the "Liberty City Seven" were arrested in June 2006. Lenard appeared to share that sentiment, at least for the four who were sentenced.
"As I see this case, these young men were looking for something. I don't know, maybe it was their naivete and youth that made them fall under the influence of a man with a need to control and they became his followers," Lenard said.
Prosecutors sought between 30 and 50 years in prison for each of the four men, with Batiste facing a maximum of 70 years when he is sentenced Friday. They were convicted in May in the third trial of the case following a pair of mistrials, and two of the original suspects were acquitted.
Lenard sentenced Batiste's self-described "No. 1 soldier," 30-year-old Patrick Abraham, to just over nine years Thursday. Stanley Phanor, 34, got eight years and two other men were sentenced to even less time Wednesday. Lenard said a terrorism enhancement that applies in each case would result in an unreasonably harsh sentence, so she opted for leniency.
Abraham, a Haitian native who has been jailed since his 2006 arrest, apologized for what happened but insisted he never sought to be a terrorist.
"I am not nobody's enemy," he said. "I am not the government's enemy."

Batiste to be sentenced next.....

3. Kathy Williams was honored by UM yesterday. I asked one of my favorite readers who was there to give me a quick summary of the event:

Kathy Williams received the Lawyers in Leadership Award last night from UM's Center for Ethics & Public Service for her "dedication to public citizenship and leadership." Examples of Kathy's professionalism, leadership, dedication, and intellect, were highlighted by several speakers (Michael Caruso, Celeste Higgins, and Ricardo Bascuas), and included the fact that Congress cited Kathy's FPD's office as a model defender's office. Spotted in the packed room were Judges Moreno, Seitz, O'Sullivan, and Palermo. Kathy's speech was short and sweet, thanking all those who guided her and expressing gratitude for being able to "work with her heroes."

Even if you don't know Kathy, you've probably benefited from her national and local work related to indigent defense. Congratulations to her for this well-deserved accolade.

4. Prof. Bascuas, a FPD alum, spoke at Kathy's event. If you haven't recently, you should check out his blog. Lots of fun stuff.

5. Tom Withers writes in re his case below:

Mark Shelnutt was and is innocent of each and every charge brought against him. Mark represents what is good and right about criminal defense lawyers. He tries to right wrongs when he sees them. He brings a passionate intensity to defending his clients. And, most importantly, he believes in our system of justice and trusted the jury to fairly listen to the evidence, which they did.


Anonymous said...

The applications for magistrate judge are confidential. How is anyone supposed to know whether to oppose, for example, a former AUSA if it's a big secret who's applying?

Rumpole said...

How exactly is "member in good standing" defined? Because in a certain sense I might be precluded from applying.

Anonymous said...

Odds are 2-5 that the spot will go to a current or formal federal prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

Only federal prosecutors need apply

Anonymous said...

Golly - seems like we've seen those names somewhere before.... Thankfully, our Chief Judge resisted the urge to make this a bipartisan committee! Fortunately, His Honor hand-picked (all by his lonesome!) the same folks that Gov. Bush used for his JNC -- back before we all went to the trouble of holding that pesky national election in 2008. Democracy is such a bore. Viva life tenure!

Fake Fred moreno said...

Meeeeester Markus. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Anonymous said...

Wonder why Moreno picked Rothman to head the committee?