Monday, July 21, 2014

Quick news and notes

1.  Julie Carnes was confirmed today to serve on the 11th Circuit.  The vote was 94-0.  We now have two Carneses on the 11th Circuit.  And when Jill Pryor gets confirmed, that will be two Pryors.

2.  But Robin Rosenberg is next up for a vote -- and this is for the District Bench here.  Robin Rosenbaum already got confirmed for the 11th Circuit and actually heard oral argument already a few weeks ago.  But this Robin (Rosenberg, not Rosenbaum) will likely be sitting in Ft. Pierce.

3,  Another 5 year sentence in the Rothstein case -- this time to former Broward Sherrif's Lt. David Benjamin.  Judge Cohn rejected his pleas for leniency and gave him the statutory max (from Paula McMahon's Sun-Sentinel article):

He was handcuffed behind his back and taken into custody in the courtroom — about three feet from Marcy Romeo, a woman whose illegal arrest on trumped-up drug charges he ordered in 2009.

"I think it's important that Ms. Romeo see the defendant taken into custody," U.S. District Judge James Cohn said as he ordered that Benjamin begin serving his prison term immediately.

"Mr. Benjamin, while wearing the cloak of BSO authority, engineered the arrest and incarceration of an innocent citizen," the judge said. "This was done purely for financial gain. This conduct is deplorable — it is unconscionable."

Romeo gave a powerful victim impact statement in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, turning and looking Benjamin in the eye as she spoke.

"I've never met you and I'm 'that bitch' you told [Jeff Poole] to arrest," Romeo told Benjamin, quoting former deputy Poole's account of what Benjamin told him to do.

"Well, my name's Marcy and I'm a mother and I'm a daughter and I'm an aunt and I'm a sister, I'm a cousin — I'm a human being," she said. Her voice shook a little with emotion, but she remained calm.

Benjamin, who was clearly flustered by her direct comments, attempted to apologize to her while she was speaking, but his lawyer, Mike Dutko, told him to let her speak.

Romeo said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of what happened to her. She was arrested, strip-searched a number of times and detained at the Broward County Jail for about 18 hours.

"It felt good," Romeo said later about seeing Benjamin handcuffed and sent to prison.

He spent his first night behind bars at the Broward County Main Jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale, records show.


Benjamin, who now has a thick beard and longer hair than when he worked at the Sheriff's Office, apologized personally to Romeo in court and expressed regrets to everyone he harmed.

"First of all, I'd like to apologize to Ms. Romeo," Benjamin said. "All I can do is apologize for my actions."

He denied that he ever called her "that bitch," but acknowledged the depth of his criminal conduct.

"My actions were absolutely horrible," Benjamin said. "I take full responsibility. I've taken full responsibility from day one. All I can do is apologize."

He said Benjamin has done everything in his power to cooperate with investigators who are still scrutinizing the enormous amount of misconduct by dozens of people linked to Rothstein.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Kaplan told the judge that Rothstein tried to corrupt and co-opt several law enforcement officers and "in the case of defendant Benjamin, he was successful."


Anonymous said...

Two Carneses.

Rumpole said...

Sometimes the Justice system works.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it they are preparing chambers space for Judge Rosenberg in WPB Courthouse. She will most likely be assigned cases off the Ft. Pierce wheel, while remaining in WPB as her duty station, just as Judges Mara and Middlebrooks do now.

David Markus said...

11:44 -- you're right. Fixed.

Anonymous said...


You should point out that Circuit Judge Carnes is married to Chief Circuit Judge Carnes.

I think the Pryors are unrelated. Although we are talking about Alabama.

Literati said...

@ 3:30 PM

Judges Julie Carnes (of Georgia) and Ed Carnes (of Alabama) are not related.

Archimboldi said...

@ 3:30 p.m.'s commenting privileges should be revoked.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. They build the courthouse in Ft Pierce and no one wants to sit there. These judges should be embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

Spot on, 9:45 a.m. Primma donnas.