Friday, July 03, 2020

Happy 4th! (UPDATED -- and happy birthday to the blog!)

UPDATE -- I almost forgot! The blog turns 15 this weekend. The first post of the longest running Florida legal blog was way back on July 4th weekend, 2005 (calling for a Floridian to be appointed to the Supreme Court, which still hasn't happened!). HowAppealing and SCOTUSblog started things off and are still kicking, but most legal blogs have folded in favor of Twitter and other social media.  The blog has had over 3800 posts and over 4.6 million page views. I'm not sure how much longer I'll do this, but it's been a fun ride! Thanks to all the tipsters and readers over the years.  I really appreciate it.

ORIGINAL POST: For your reading pleasure, here's an article about judges behaving badly.  None of our judges made the list.  Here's my favorite one:
In Indiana, three judges attending a conference last spring got drunk and sparked a 3 a.m. brawl outside a White Castle fast-food restaurant that ended with two of the judges shot. Although the state supreme court found the three judges had “discredited the entire Indiana judiciary,” each returned to the bench after a suspension.
Some sad stats:
In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, reporters identified another 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined wayward judges but kept hidden from the public key details of their offenses – including the identities of the judges themselves.

All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined. They included a California judge who had sex in his courthouse chambers, once with his former law intern and separately with an attorney; a New York judge who berated domestic violence victims; and a Maryland judge who, after his arrest for driving drunk, was allowed to return to the bench provided he took a Breathalyzer test before each appearance.

The news agency’s findings reveal an “excessively” forgiving judicial disciplinary system, said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who writes about judicial ethics. Although punishment short of removal from the bench is appropriate for most misconduct cases, Gillers said, the public “would be appalled at some of the lenient treatment judges get” for substantial transgressions.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Is Justice Alito going to retire?

The rumor mill is in high gear right now.  Check out this article suggesting that the retirement is coming.

And it's July 1, and we don't have all of the Court's opinions yet.  The poor dears can't start their summer vacay yet because there is still work to do.  More opinions on Monday, but in the meantime, the Court granted cert today on whether the Mueller report would be released in total... after the election.  Via Scotusblog:
This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference yesterday. The justices added another high-profile case to their docket for the fall, involving a dispute over efforts by members of Congress to obtain secret materials from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller submitted a report last year to Attorney General William Barr on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Barr released a redacted version of that report in April 2019. In July 2019, the House Judiciary Committee went to federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking an order that would require the disclosure of the redacted portions of the Mueller report, as well as grand jury transcripts and materials that had been kept secret, for use in its impeachment investigation. The committee relied on a provision in a federal rule of criminal procedure that allows a court to authorize the disclosure of grand jury materials that would otherwise be kept secret “in connection with a judicial proceeding.”
The 11th Circuit, though, is working hard — cranking out opinions every day.  And it just granted en banc review in the very big felon voting rights case.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sam Rabin is a legend. (UPDATED)

Corrected: This is what Sam Rabin wore to court today:

The original post said Sam was ordered to appear, but that was not accurate. He could have Zoomed into the sentencing hearing (as the prosecutor did), but he wanted to be sitting next to his client during the hearing.

UPDATE -- for those of you who think this was over the top, here's the latest from FDC-Miami:

“Fortunately for me, we have just a fabulous clerk of the court in Kiry Gray. She’s so street-smart and really knows her job."

That was then-Chief Judge of the Central District of California, Cormac J. Carney, about the clerk of court, Kiry K. Gray. He has since stepped down as Chief of that District.  From the LA Times:
The chief judge for the Central District of California, the nation’s largest federal court jurisdiction, which includes Los Angeles and its neighboring counties, has stepped down from that post, citing his racially insensitive comments regarding the court’s top administrative official, a Black woman.

U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who began a four-year term as chief district judge June 1, announced his decision to step down from the top post but remain a judge in an email Friday to court staff and fellow judges, and offered a public apology to Kiry K. Gray.

A federal court employee for 35 years, Gray in 2015 became the first Black woman appointed to be the Central District’s executive and clerk of court, a job that entails working closely with the chief judge to oversee court operations.

“I have apologized to Ms. Gray, but I have concluded that a simple apology will not put this matter to rest. There will be division in the Court, unnecessary, negative and hurtful publicity, and a diversion from the Court’s essential mission of administering justice if I were to continue serving as the Chief District Judge,” Carney wrote in the email, which The Times reviewed. “I cannot allow the Court to become politicized and embroiled in controversy.”

Monday, June 29, 2020

All jury trials and grand juries in the SDFLA are continued until October 13, 2020

That's the latest administrative order from Chief Judge Moore.

Thanks for all the tipsters who have emailed the Order to me.  I will post it as soon as it is on the Court's website.