The SDFLA Blog is dedicated to providing news and notes regarding federal practice in the Southern District of Florida. The New Times calls the blog "the definitive source on South Florida's federal court system." All tips on court happenings are welcome and will remain anonymous. Please email David Markus at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, December 28, 2007
Rumors of my demise...
It's just that it's the deadest week of the year. EXCEPT IN STATE COURT! Are you kidding me? Yes, we have anonymous juries and explosions in buildings, but nothing like the Christmas Eve Massacre (reported by Rumpole).
Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Liberty City 7 update
Here's the intro to the article:
A federal judge on Friday aired concerns about the possibility of jury tampering in the upcoming retrial of an alleged homegrown terrorism group and ordered that Miami-Dade jurors be selected anonymously for the high-profile proceeding.U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard cited numerous reasons for her order -- including a jury list handed by one defense lawyer to his client's mother so she could pray for an acquittal during first trial deliberations last week. Lenard noted that it was a ''pristine list'' with all 12 of the jurors' names and ''X'' marks next to six of them.''At this point, it's unclear to the court what that list was about,'' she said.Her order -- an edict normally seen in organized crime or major drug cases -- means that potentially hundreds of Miami-Dade voters who receive jury summonses for the retrial in January will be referred to by number, not by name. The judge also ordered the U.S. Marshals to provide criminal background checks on all prospective jurors for both sides.***''I do find there is strong reason to believe the jury needs protection,'' Lenard said. ``Here we have defendants accused of being members of a terrorist cell.''
On the other hand, Judge Lenard ordered the government to keep Lyglenson Lemorin here in the United States because he may be needed for the next trial. (via Sun-Sentinel). From the article:
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard cautioned the government against moving ahead "with lightning speed so that he would not be available to testify.""I don't know if it's on a fast track or not on a fast track," Lenard said. "I have to protect the rights of these defendants and I intend to do so."
So, do we start calling the case the Liberty City 6 now?
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Past contributions by our firm have enabled the Daily Bread Food Bank to deliver over 1.3 million meals to those in need in our community.
This year, we decided to contribute a truck to help make the deliveries a little easier.
When you see this truck in our community, you may notice that our name is not on it. That is because the gift of this truck is made in your honor. It would not have been possible without you.
Where in the world is Lyglenson Lemorin?
A U.S. jury did not think Lyglenson Lemorin was involved in a terrorism conspiracy to topple Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices, but he did not walk out of court a free man.
Instead, federal agents took the legal U.S. resident to Georgia, where he remained Wednesday facing possible deportation to his native Haiti, his attorneys said. And Lemorin could be forced to return to court early next year in Miami to testify in the retrial of his co-defendants in the so-called "Liberty City Seven" case.
Lemorin's treatment has led people involved in the case to question the government's motives, especially if he is charged with largely identical terrorism-related offenses in deportation proceedings.
We also haven't had a Go Dore Go segment in a while, but the article quotes blog favorite Dore Louis:
His lawyers didn't know where he was until Monday, and Lemorin told them he feared he would be taken to the U.S. terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A Miami lawyer who represents a co-defendant in the Jose Padilla terrorism case said Lemorin was afraid for good reason.
"This is a category of individuals who are subjected to different rules," said attorney Marshall Dore Louis, who is not involved in the Liberty City Seven case. "I think anybody who is in that system should be terrified about what the government is going to do."
Anonymous Blog dies
Still, it's sad that StuckonthePalmetto is dead. It was one of the best blogs in South Florida. Here's the Herald report on what happened...
Monday, December 17, 2007
DBR covers Federal Bar Luncheon
Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno doesn’t expect a pair of U.S. Supreme Court decisions reinforcing the sentencing discretion of federal judges to create much of a ripple. “There will be a little bit of change,” he told the Federal Bar Association last week. The affable judge kept lawyers in stitches as he addressed the association for the first time as chief judge.
Moreno told the association that most sentences will fall within the guidelines but he expects the number of sentencing appeals to drop. In an interview afterward, the judge said the guidelines play an important role. “It eliminates disparities between different judges,” he said. “I like the guidelines because that’s what they are — guidelines — they are not mandatory sentences.” But he also welcomes the latest decisions guaranteeing more discretion to district judges. “We know the case and the individual,” he said. “It gives the opportunity for the exception if someone is young or if something is unusual. Sometimes people do fall outside the standards.”
Rick Diaz nominated for lawyer of the year
Defenders go to Liberia
Witnesses are difficult or impossible to find, some moving to remote African villages accessible only by muddy roads rarely patrolled by police. Many who survived Liberia's bloody civil war and may have seen acts of torture are reluctant to talk to anyone about what happened, let alone a defense lawyer for the notorious son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Then there are the language and cultural barriers. These and other problems have forced a delay until spring in the trial in Miami federal court of Taylor's son Charles McArthur Emmanuel or Chuckie Taylor, the first person to be prosecuted under a law making it a crime for a U.S. citizen to commit torture or war crimes overseas.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Initial thoughts on Liberty City mistrial
2. Will the next trial be called Liberty City 6?
3. Will there be a next trial?
4. Joel Defabio, the lawyer for the one defendant who was acquitted, will be partying tonight. A lot.
5. The other defense lawyers certainly can claim victory but I'm sure they are dreading the prospect of trying this again. That said, they will be celebrating too.
I can't think of anything worse as a trial lawyer than having to retry a case, except sentencing of course. It sucks as much for the prosecution too. And it's probably the worst for the judge to have to sit through it again.
6. How will this case be compared to the Padilla trial? Other than being 'terror' trials, they really are nothing alike.
--David Oscar Markus
--David Oscar Markus
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Chief Judge Moreno at the federal bar luncheon
Moreno explained that he didn't control when the new courthouse would open and there was no fixed date... The over on that January 1, 2008 looks pretty good right now. The new over/under line is January 1, 2009.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas also spoke today to the Palm Beach Bar Association. Here's a report on that talk.
When are we going to get a verdict?
Are they going to compromise?
Reach a verdict on all counts?
Monday, December 10, 2007
''It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so."
Huge sentencing day...
In other sentencing news, Michael Vick got 23 months. Almost two years for a first-time offender with no prior history... Thoughts?
For all your sentencing news, the best place to go is www.sentencing.typepad.com and for the Supreme Court news, go to www.scotusblog.com
Friday, December 07, 2007
Ask Chief Judge Moreno anything you want!
The cold realities of prison
All Ken Jenne wants for Christmas is a warm sweat shirt.
''He really wants a sweat shirt because it's cold in prison,'' said his son, State Rep. Evan Jenne.
Jenne, whose prisoner number is 77434-004, observed his 61st birthday in prison in Miami last Saturday. His wife and son saw him Monday.
''We weren't allowed to bring him anything for his birthday,'' Evan Jenne said.
Jenne said his father was ``in good spirits.''
''The guards are treating him well and with respect,'' he said. ``My father doesn't feel in mortal danger. Every time he moves, there is a legion of guards around him.''
Jenne, who once hoped to be governor, now spends his days fighting boredom, his son said.
The former sheriff fills his days by reading a lot. ''Right now, he's reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton. It's a paperback. No hard covers are allowed,'' his son said.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Hung jury in Liberty City 7 case?
Anyway, back to LC7. The AP's Curt Anderson reports:
Jurors signaled Thursday they are struggling to reach verdicts in the case against seven men accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices.
Jurors sent a note in their fourth day of deliberations that they have not reached agreement on the guilt or innocence of any of the seven defendants on any of the four terror-related conspiracy charges.
"There has been significant discussion regarding the evidence and the law," said Gregory Prebish, attorney for defendant Burson Augustin. "It's clear that the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict for any one of the defendants on any of the counts."
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Louis Robles gets 15 years
SDFLA Blog question of the day -- Why won't the government abandon its appellate waiver so that Robles can litigate (with the government's support) whether district judges should be permitted to reject plea agreements.
Jose Padilla sentencing postponed
Padilla co-defendant attempts suicide at FDC
In other news, the Liberty City 7 jury has the case (via Vanessa Blum). Over/under on verdict? As with the Padilla verdict, I say verdicts by the end of the week. (Rumpole never did send me my check...)
Monday, December 03, 2007
Wearing all black with a hood over his head, the hit man ran up the driveway of a central Miami-Dade home, pulled out a 9mm pistol and popped the FBI informant.
Seconds later, the shooter jumped into a getaway car. He had just shot his target in the back of the head outside the target's father-in-law's house. In the fleeing car, the shooter told the driver that the victim had ''looked scared'' just before he shot him at close range.
And so began the murder-for-hire investigation into the hit on Mahmoud Elchami on the afternoon of Nov. 19, 2006, according to FBI records filed in federal court. Agents say Elchami was murdered because he was going to testify as a key witness in a drug trial.
Agents allege the man who pulled the trigger is Joshua John Laing, who will be arraigned on Monday in the killing of Elchami, who died one day after the shooting. After his arrest, Laing, 22, confessed he committed the shooting in exchange for thousands of dollars, according to an FBI affidavit.