Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Blogging

Sorry I haven't been blogging much this week -- I've actually been swamped... Soooo, we're gonna close down the blog until the new year unless something big comes up (For example, if I win the blog fantasy football championship this weekend against RichRodisCuban, I will post about it!). Other than that, though, I need a little break. Have a great holiday season. Happy New Year and see you in 2010.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Innocent people pleading guilty

It's one of the criminal justice system's dirty little secrets -- innocent people plead guilty because the risk if you lose at trial is too high. The Wall Street Journal covers this phenomenon here:

A surprise twist in the criminal case against Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli again raises questions about plea bargains, one of the most important and controversial aspects of the justice system.

In a Santa Ana, Calif., court last week, federal Judge Cormac Carney dismissed the criminal complaint charging Mr. Samueli with lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its investigation of whether Broadcom misstated its earnings by improperly accounting for executive stock options. Judge Carney's dismissal came even though Mr. Samueli had stood before him in 2008 and pleaded guilty to that very crime.

Mr. Samueli did what lawyers and legal scholars fear a disturbing number of other people have done: pleaded guilty to a crime they didn't commit or at least believed they didn't commit. These defendants often end up choosing that route because they feel trapped in a corner, or fear getting stuck with a long prison sentence if they go to trial and lose.

The evolution of the criminal-justice system in recent decades has put many defendants "under all but impossible pressure to plead guilty, even if they're not," said Yale law Prof. John Langbein, a critic of the plea-bargain system.

A daughter of a defendant who recently pled guilty in this district says that her dad was innocent but couldn't risk a life sentence when there was a 2-year offer on the table:

But she wants to be pragmatic. Should her father risk spending the rest of his life in prison in an attempt to clear his name? She doesn't think so. Even before a plea bargain was offered, she said her father should consider one if it were offered. "It is really (awful), admitting to something you didn't do," she said. "He doesn't deserve any of this."

David Gerger out of Houston summed up best:

“When the government can increase your sentence tenfold for going to trial, then very few innocent people will have the courage to take that risk,” Gerger said. “They will just plead guilty, and that's wrong.”

There's a lot we can do to fix this, and much of it already has been discussed (even by yours truly -- I testified about this problem before the Sentencing Commission a few months back). For starters, juries -- not probation officers -- should recommend sentences to the Court.

And perhaps our court system should be more open to the public, like the state system is. One move in the right direction -- the 9th Circuit has started a pilot program where non-jury civil trials can be televised.

Video cameras, long banned from most federal courtrooms, could be used in civil trials throughout the West under a new initiative in the federal judiciary’s Ninth Circuit. One of the first cases to be televised could be next month’s hearing over a challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban.

The move was announced Thursday by Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Kozinski called the move an “experiment” that “is designed to help us find the right balance between the public’s right to access to the courts and the parties’ right to a fair and dignified proceeding.”

But as Judge Kozinski said in an interview, “a lot has happened since then.” He cited advances in technology, the rise of Internet video transmission and greater experience of successful use of video in state courts and at the federal appeals level. “We thought it was time to take another look,” he said.

Judge Kozinski emphasized that the new initiative was still an experiment, and that it would be dropped “if it in any way impairs the fair administration of justice.” But he also noted that he did not expect to see problems.

“It’s a little bit of an uphill battle” to get courts to adopt technology, he said, adding: “We all have to be much more tech savvy than we really ever were, or particularly wanted to be. It’s just the nature of life in the 21st century.”

So, we have a lot to discuss in the comments -- are innocent defendants pleading guilty? Should we have cameras in the courtroom?

UPDATE -- check out this article about the attorney who was recently acquitted. Apparently the judge isn't too happy with the sweetheart deals given to the snitches:

A federal judge in Columbus, Ga., has slammed federal prosecutors for making "sweetheart plea deals" with drug dealers to further their "relentless pursuit" of a criminal defense attorney whose trial ended last month when a jury acquitted him of drug conspiracy, attempted bribery and money laundering charges.
U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land issued his harsh criticism of the U.S. Attorneys' Offices for the Middle and Southern Districts of Georgia in an unusual 19-page order explaining why he more than doubled the recommended prison sentence of a federal witness who testified against Columbus lawyer J. Mark Shelnutt.
Land suggested that the judgment of the U.S. Attorney's Middle District office in Macon, Ga., which oversees federal prosecutions in Columbus, "may have become clouded by its zeal to bring down a prominent defense attorney."
"The Court became concerned that the focus of the U.S. attorney's office was on getting a high-profile lawyer and negotiating sweetheart plea deals with the actual drug dealers to accomplish that," Land wrote.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Here's something to make you laugh this weekend -- it's the second most downloaded video of 2009.

RIP Joan Grady

Joan Grady -- longtime assistant to Kathy Williams at the FPD's office -- has passed away. Joan was an incredibly hard worker, and was always available to the lawyers in the office and the CJA lawyers looking for help. She was really loved by everyone and we'll all miss her.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Miami's worst kept secret is out

Rumpole and the DBR finally broke what people have been talking about for weeks now -- that the White House is actively vetting Kathy Williams for the open judge seat and Willy Ferrer for U.S. Attorney.

Congrats to these two very well-deserving candidates. Both are going to be absolutely great....

As an aside, I held off on posting this news for the past couple of weeks because the vetting process is very sensitive and I didn't want anything to slow the process for Kathy or Willy. But now, it's out there, so I am posting it...

Hopefully the official nomination will happen by the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Louie the interpreter retiring

No doubt that longtime court interpreter Angel Luis Nigaglioni "has seen it all." Here's a nice Herald article about him and his career.

The longest serving interpreter in U.S. federal court -- whose voice was also known to millions of Spanish speakers worldwide as that of late President Ronald Reagan en espaƱol -- has retired.
During his 35-year career, Angel Luis Nigaglioni played a unique part in South Florida's tumultuous judicial history, participating in such high-profile proceedings as the prosecution of Miami River Cops on corruption charges and the trial of Gen. Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama.
``I have seen everything. It is a fascinating profession in that every day you learn something, not just about language but about the human condition,'' Nigaglioni, 70, said.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're #1!

The American Tort Reform Association has ranked South Florida as the #1 "Judicial Hellhole" in the nation. How silly. Here's what they say:

South Florida, the home of, is known for its medical malpractice claims, never-ending tobacco lawsuits and generous verdicts. Trial practices favor plaintiffs, as exemplified by a string of reversals in a Miami-Dade case against Ford Motor Company. Florida is also developing a reputation as the place to bring slip-and-fall lawsuits due to its lower burden of proof compared to other states, making the state ripe for fraudulent claims. Supermarkets, corner stores, and restaurants have no choice but to settle, regardless of whether they could have prevented accidents. In addition, Florida is one of the few states that allow those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs to sue the automobile manufacturer for failing to prevent their injuries by designing a safer car, while hiding from the jury the driver's responsibility for the crash. South Florida is home to several legal scandals this year, in which lawyers enriched themselves with their clients' money and bought hospital records to solicit business. Even the organization representing plaintiffs' lawyers in the state has found itself in hot water.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"The defendant here isn't exactly Tinker Bell."

That was Judge Turnoff today in presiding over the bond hearing for Robert Antoine, a former Haitian government official charged in a telecom bribery scheme involving Haiti's state-owned telecommunications company. Judge Turnoff set a 10% bond at $1 million, meaning that Antoine will have to post $100,000 with the court. He'll get that back with interest if he sees the case through. Here's the Herald article. A snippet:

Federal prosecutors argued that Antoine was a flight risk and wanted him detained. ``He is the primary mover and shaker who made this all happen,'' U.S. Attorney Kimberly Selmore said in court. ``Without him, this couldn't be done.''
Selmore argued it was Antoine who was responsible for the contracts that allowed Esquenazi and Rodriguez to allegedly defraud Haiti Teleco. Antoine was joined by 19 family and friends in court Monday, and family members say they will come up with the money. Another hearing is scheduled to determined if the money is clean.
Antoine's attorney Dennis Kainen argued that his client should be allowed to post bail to fight the charges from behind bars. He said even before his extradition he had intended to fly to Miami from Haiti on Sunday.
"His ties to the community are overwhelming,'' said Kainen, noting that Antoine has been living in South Florida since 1969.

In other news, Curt Anderson covers the civil case against Chuckie Taylor:

Five Africans who claim they were tortured and abused in Liberia when former President Charles Taylor ruled will come to a Miami courtroom next week seeking millions of dollars from the man they say ordered the atrocities: Taylor's son, Charles McArthur Emmanuel.
Emmanuel, also known as Charles ``Chuckie'' Taylor Jr., was convicted in federal court in Miami last year of violating U.S. anti-torture laws as a high-level enforcer for his father. He is serving a 97-year prison sentence.
The five Liberian victims filed a lawsuit against him earlier this year, winning a default judgment in May that leaves only the question of damages for a trial that begins Monday.

Emmanuel, 32, did not initially contest the lawsuit but will appear in court and apparently act as his own lawyer in the bench trial next week before U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan. He has already been transferred from a federal prison in Marion, Ill., to Miami's downtown detention center, and has filed several handwritten motions.
In one of them, he asks an attorney for the Liberians for details about the victims and their case, but says it is doubtful that he will take the witness stand next week.
``I will not be testifying in the December proceeding,'' Emmanuel wrote. ``That could change based upon the information requested.''

The U

The buzz around town this morning is the documentary "The U," which played Saturday night on ESPN as part of their 30 for 30 series. I have discussed it a bit in prior posts, but I had no idea how unbelievable the movie was going to be. I had very high expectations, but the movie far exceeded anything I could have hoped for. It transported me back to the late 80s, watching UM games with friends. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kim Rothstein in the news

That's her high school yearbook picture. Brittany Wallman of the Sun-Sentinel has a great in-depth piece on Kim Rothstein. Bob Norman's wife scooped him!
From the article:

A health crisis struck when she was 12. She collapsed at a Plantation Central Park karate tournament. Doctors found she had a blood vessel disorder in her brain, a condition that causes seizures and headaches. She took a break from her beloved sport.
A 4.0 student at Seminole Middle School in Plantation, she became depressed and her grades slipped, the Sun Sentinel reported at the time.
But she made a comeback, despite the health risks.
"She's a great example of a never-quit attitude,'' her late grandfather John Shaffer told the newspaper.
"She is both charming and intelligent. Her accomplishments in karate are rather amazing,'' her doctor told the newspaper.
She went on to
South Plantation High School.
After graduating in 1992, she and her mother owned and operated a wellness center on University Drive in Davie, selling books and offering classes on yoga, belly dancing and reiki. She is a spiritual person, a practicer of Transcendental Meditation, and a good person, said Linnet O'Neal, a longtime acquaintance. Since meeting her now-husband, Kim has been studying Judaism.
O'Neal shopped at the store and eventually bought it from Kim's mother, a spiritual adviser who now works at a holistic health center.
"You've heard of people who are gifted clairvoyantly, who have intuition where they guide people almost as a life coach? Lynn is a wonderful teacher, and very humble and giving person. And Kimmie is a very humble and very sweet girl,'' O'Neal said.
About nine years ago, Kim Rothstein went back to school to obtain her real estate license, making her mother proud, O'Neal said.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ben Kuehne thanks his supporters

It was a packed event tonight as judges, former prosecutors, defense lawyers, and many others in the community came to celebrate with Ben. To the left is a picture of Ben from the party. And here are his remarks:

“Let there be Justice, and then no one will ask for anything unjust.” So proclaimed the revered patriot, lawyer, and scholar Jose Marti.

I am here today as proof to all that Justice lives in America. That we live in a time in a Nation that honors the message of philosopher Alan-Rene Lesage: “Justice is such a fine thing that we cannot pay too dearly for it.”

We are all fortunate to say we have a Justice Department whose goal is to try to do the right thing. I am humbled that the Department of Justice made the honorable decision to do the right thing.
As Dr. Martin Luther King enunciated, “the time is always right to do the right thing.” The Department’s timing was impeccable.

And I do not mean the right decision just for me. Instead, the inevitable resolution of my own legal drama is a reaffirmation by the highest powers of our Government that lawyers, including criminal defense lawyers, serve an essential – a vital -- purpose in our society. Our professional endeavor of testing the government, checking the exercise of public power, and challenging our institutions in an ethical but adversarial manner – what we do every day – is an honorable cause.

One of the great trial lawyers of our time, Edward Bennett Williams, observed that “Law is but a means; justice is the end.” We lawyers serve that cause of justice, and this outpouring of community support is a welcome approval of that cause.

Seekers of justice see our system as one that actively embraces achieving the right result, with our independent judiciary willing to reach correct conclusions defined by the law and the facts.

I readily applaud the several brilliant jurists who were so willing to apply the law as it is, as it should be, without fear of criticism. I am the beneficiary of the attention and “eminently correct” rulings by several of the very finest federal judges to serve the public interest.

Although it is understandable in the crystal clear light of hindsight that my legal case is what we refer to as a “No Brainer”, that it became so is the direct result of my dedicated team of outstanding lawyers: led by John Nields, Jason Raofield, and Laura Shores from Howrey in Washington, D.C., and my good friend, Jane Moscowitz, from Miami. I publicly thank them for their skill, dedication, and commitment to me and the precedent-setting value of my case.

But the reason for this Appreciation Reception is because of you, your support and attention to my case and the underlying message of enabling lawyers to be lawyers, without fear of retribution or prosecution. This day would not have been possible without all of you serving as the constant, pervasive, and effective foundation for my demonstration of innocence.

A message repeated by our independent Fourth Estate, our media. I am gratefully indebted to the Miami Herald and its court’s reporter Jay Weaver, and the Daily Business Review, especially John Pacenti, as well as the other journalists both locally and nationally, who consistently reported the truth of my case. The message was heard loud and clear, and helped to bring about a fitting end to my case.

I work daily with a stellar group of lawyers and legal professionals who never abandoned me, content with the knowledge that I would prevail in this classic battle. Allow me the privilege of thanking Susan Dmitrovsky, Bob Ader, Beth Hitt, Robert Hertzberg, and Amanda Maxwell, as well as Mirta Rodriguez, Sandy Hart, Leeza Bodes, Serena Young, Luly Moreno, and especially Barney Brown, who after being exonerated after serving 38 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, works with me as my legal intern.

President Kennedy once observed that “Our nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty, while defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny.” As lawyers and community leaders, we must lead the way to ensure that observance of the law is ingrained in our society, so that no one, not even the government, can claim a right to ignore or countermand the rule of law.

Let us sharpen our pencils and write a clear message to those in our community who may not understand and appreciate the abiding passion for justice in our nation: Our diligence every day, as directed by our Constitution, to provide effective counsel to our clients, is the keystone to our democratic way of life.

Throughout this legal drama, my greatest strength has been the unsinkable spirit and love of my wife, Lynn, and our entire family. I want to thank them for knowing who I am, and of my sincere dedication to the law.

Allow me to close with a story about Rudyard Kipling, one of the great writers. In the prime of his career, it was said he was making the previously unheard of sum of one shilling per word. Learning of this, a group of Oxford students, on a lark, decided to wire the Great One a single shilling and ask, in return, for one - just one – of his very best words. Soon enough, Kipling wired back just one word: “THANKS.”

I thank you – all of you who work so diligently to bring justice to our community, our courts, our nation – most appreciatively for giving me the opportunity to work with so many great people in making our America and our community a better place.

Well said!

Here's our prior coverage of Ben's case.

Quick Hits

Sorry for the slow blogging. I'm getting killed over at work. But quickly:

1. Josephus Eggelletion pleads guilty to money laundering, will resign (via Miami Herald).

2. Liberia victims to face Taylor's son in US court (via AP).

3. Obama's acceptance speech (via London Times).

4. ALI pulls plug on standards for death penalty (via Ellen Podgor at White Collar Crime Blog)

We'll be back soon.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

AUSA David Haimes named Broward Circuit Judge

Congrats to long-time federal prosecutor David Haimes on his appointment to the state bench. Here's Gov. Crist's press release:

Governor Charlie Crist today announced the appointment of David A. Haimes of Plantation to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court.
“David epitomizes the spirit of a dedicated and committed public servant,” Governor Crist said. “With over 15 years of legal service under his belt, I am confident he has the expertise and insight to serve the people of the 17th Circuit well.”
Haimes, 44, has served in the United States Attorney’s Office as an assistant U.S. attorney since 2003. Previously, he served as an assistant state attorney with the Florida State Attorney’s Office of the 17th Judicial Circuit from 1999 to 2003; as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable William Dimitrouleas from 1998 to 1999; as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice from 1995 to 1998; and as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable William J. Zloch from 1993 to 1995. He earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Notre Dame Law School.
Haimes will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert B. Carney, effective December 31, 2009.

Hat tip: JAABlog.

Monday, December 07, 2009

"Gotta get away from my lawyer. Sit tight. Say nothing. Write nothing. Brooklyn to bronx. I'll make u famous."

That was Scott Rothstein texting with Sun-Sentinel reporter Mike Mayo. They had nicknames for each other and everything. Rothstein kept up a con with Mayo, promising him that he would get the exclusive Rothstein interview -- I guess to keep Mayo from writing anything too critical about him. Mayo details the exchanges here. It's an interesting read.

Of course, the most comprehensive place to go for Rothstein news is the Daily Pulp. Bob Norman is just churning out news over at his site. Good stuff.

In other news:

1. Ex-Broward Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion to plead guilty (via Herald). Looks like Ben Kuehne is back to work -- he and Kendall Coffee are representing Eggelletion.

2. SFL covers Judge Moreno's decision to pay Roberto Martinez and Colson Hicks $4.5 million more than initially approved for work as a receiver. Although Judge Moreno gave less than Martinez was asking for, he still about double the hourly rate that was billed ($450 vs. $218). Any thoughts on this? Should CJA lawyers be able to ask for a kicker when they do good work?

3. Honest-services fraud is before the High Court this week. Should be really interesting. More on this later, but here's a primer from USA Today.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Ben Kuehne event and other weekend news

This should be something:

In Grateful Appreciation of the
Overwhelming Community Support of his Innocence

Invites the Community to his
On the Occasion of his Vindication

Sky lobby
Bank of America tower
100 S.E. 2nd Street
Miami, Florida 33131
Thursday, December 10, 2009
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
RSVP to:

In other news, former AUSAs Mike Tein and Richard Scruggs sqaured off before their state court trial, which starts Monday morning. Tein filed a motion alleging prosecutorial misconduct and the judge allowed Tein to cross-examine Scruggs. Apparently, there were fireworks:

Fri., Dec. 4 2009 @ 9:11PM

Richard Scruggs is usually the guy asking people tough questions and getting witnesses to spill the beans. But today Miami-Dade's veteran public corruption prosecutor was on the receiving end of an intense grilling. And he was not enjoying himself.It went down inside the courtroom of Judge Beatrice Butchko in the Miami-Dade criminal justice building at 1351 NW 12th Street. The man putting the screws on Scruggs was Michael Tein, the criminal defense lawyer representing Rev. Gaston Smith, who is facing grand theft charge for allegedly stealing $17,000 in county grant money.Tein accuses Scruggs of prosecutorial misconduct in Smith's case.During several hours of testimony this afternoon, Scruggs's answers went from terse to angry. At one point he growled: "Mr. Tein will you calm the rhetoric please."He repeatedly denied he acted with malicious intent when he waited a month to inform Smith and Smith's other criminal defense attorney that a Miami-Dade police detective had secretly recorded two conversations they had with Scruggs and investigators before the clergyman was indicted. Tein zealously quizzed Scruggs if he ever informed Smith that he was a criminal target during the pastor's interviews before he was arrested. "No, no, no, no," Scruggs grumbled. "You got that!"
Scruggs disputed comments attributed to him by Miami New Times staff writer Gus Garcia-Roberts in this profile of Smith. He claims he never told Garcia-Roberts Smith had rejected a plea deal in exchange for his testimony against suspended Miami city commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. (Scruggs is prosecuting her for allegedly stealing $50,000 in county funds.) Scruggs also denied telling Garcia-Roberts that he had reported Smith to the Internal Revenue Service for possible tax evasion. "Absolutely not," Scruggs said under oath. "I don't recall talking about taxes at all."Judge Butchko appeared skeptical. She asked: "So how would the reporter know that if he didn't get it from you? Is the reporter clairvoyant?"Scruggs' reply: "I don't know." He said that alot during his inquisition. And the assistant state attorney conceded that he did tell Garcia-Roberts that Smith "was caught with his hand in the cookie jar." But he claimed it was off the record.Then Scruggs revealed something that just made no sense. When Tein asked him why he didn't complain to New Times editor Chuck Strouse or demand a correction, Scruggs says he decided not to because "no one reads this stuff anyway." Tein: "No one reads the New Times?"Scruggs: "Yeah, Uh-huh."

Apparently, court went until 9:30 Friday night with Tein throwing punch after punch against Scruggs. This trial (preview here by the Miami Herald) should be a fun one to watch.

UPDATE -- here's another New Times article on the hearing, and here is a portion of the transcript including part of Tein's cross of Scruggs and the judge's ruling.

Friday, December 04, 2009

See you all at this event

The Steve Chaykin Fellowship event is coming up:

When: Saturday, January 9, 2010

6:30 pm -- Cocktail Reception

8:15 pm -- Concert

Where: Gusman Hall
University of Miami
Coral Gables Campus

On Saturday evening, January 9, 2010, a Reception and Concert by Grammy Nominated Jazz and Blues Artist Marcia Ball, will be held at the Gusman Concert Hall, on the University of Miami Campus. All the proceeds will benefit the Steven E. Chaykin Fellowship at the Center for Ethics and Public Service, at the University of Miami School of Law.

More information about this event can be found on the web at or by calling Susan at (305) 374-7771. The Steven E. Chaykin Fellowship Trust is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and a portion of your donations may be tax deductible.

Ho hum

Well, it's a Friday in December. Awfully quiet around town.

I found interesting this Herald article about a state judge and a defendant being Facebook friends:

Several weeks ago, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny accepted a new friend request on the social networking site Facebook -- from Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

On Thursday, Spence-Jones was not a pal but a defendant whose grand theft case was on Colodny's docket for arraignment.

Colodny disclosed the tidbit to lawyers in the case, assuring them that she immediately unfriended the politician when she learned of her arrest on Nov. 13. Colodny also noted that she never once looked at Spence-Jones' Facebook page.

``We'll be leaving Facebook because of the issues arising from that website,'' Colodny said Thursday morning.

Defense lawyer Michael Band and prosecutor Richard Scruggs chuckled about the disclosure but had no problems with it. Band entered a plea of not guilty for Spence-Jones, who did not appear.

So, should judges abandon Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging altogether?

Other topics to consider on this Friday:

1. Who would release ladybugs at Art Basel?
2. Who would win in a fight between Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor?
3. Is Florida the ponzi scheme capitol of the world?
4. Here's a creative way to enforce a judgment -- have the Marshals seize paintings from Art Basel.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Did Scott Rothstein surrender or was he arrested?

There has been some debate about whether Rothstein was arrested or whether he was permitted to surrender. The answer is really neither. When a defendant surrenders, he is permitted to show up at magistrate court for his first appearance on his own (not in handcuffs). And when someone is arrested, federal agents show up at your house at 6:30 in the morning and bring you to court. Here, we had a little of both -- Rothstein wasn't arrested at his house (or the hotel he was staying at) and he didn't show up to magistrate court on his own. Instead, it appears he surrendered himself to the FBI office where they put him in handcuffs and brought him to court. The feds did this so that they could say they arrested him, but they allowed him to show up to the FBI office because it's pretty obvious he has been cooperating and so they gave him this small concession. Also, for some reason Rothstein's lawyer continues to say he isn't cooperating, so having him show up to court in handcuffs allows Rothstein to continue to say this even though I think everyone knows that train has left the station.

The whole surrender vs. arrest thing has always bugged me. If a defendant knows about the charges and hasn't gone anywhere, he should be permitted to surrender even if he isn't cooperating. The government should not be able to use the threat of arrest to coerce a person into pleading... It's a complete waste of resources. Obviously, this is not the typical case, so perhaps the government, for political reasons, couldn't allow him to simply show up to court on his own (especially since he's been sipping martinis for the past couple weeks in everyone's face).
The other topic being discussed is the information vs. indictment. Rothstein has been charged by way of information, meaning that the feds didn't have to go to a grand jury. This generally is a tell-tale sign that the defendant is cooperating. But again, the whole information vs. indictment thing has never made much sense to me. Who cares whether you are charged with an information instead of an indictment. It does absolutely nothing for the defendant whatsoever. I guess it saves an agent from an afternoon of explaining the case to a grand jury. In my view, we should just get rid of the grand jury altogether. That would require a constitutional amendment though, and we haven't had one of those in a while.

Here's Jeff Sloman at the press conference yesterday: