Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Judge Zloch strikes back

Remember Loring Spolter's wild claims that there was a conspiracy with Judge Zloch and the clerk's office? Well, the DBR reports that it didn't go so well for Mr. Spolter:

District Court Judge William Zloch is considering suspending a Fort Lauderdale employment attorney from practicing in South Florida federal courts for criticizing him in an interview with the Daily Business Review. Fort Lauderdale lawyer Loring Spolter said the former chief judge allows his religious and conservative views to color his decisions. He also commissioned a statistical analysis that Spolter said showed it was impossible for so many of his cases to be randomly assigned to Zloch, only to be dismissed. Cases are assigned in the Southern District through a somewhat weighted wheel system that takes into account where cases are filed and where the action occurred.


Zloch asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Rosenbaum to review the matter and make recommendations. She issued a 96-page report July 10, finding Spolter’s accusations were specious after taking testimony on case assignments from Steven Larimore, the district’s clerk of court. “Although a lawyer should be lauded for having the courage to take a stand against any truly biased activity on the part of a court, Mr. Spolter’s actions do not fall into that category,” Rosenbaum wrote. “These statements exceed the bounds of properly raising grounds for recusal or disqualification and instead constitute a personal attack on the presiding judge.” Zloch adopted Rosenbaum’s findings and held a hearing Aug. 20 on whether to sanction Spolter for filing the motions in bad faith. Zloch repeatedly invoked the interview with DBR in the hearing, a transcript shows. “I would like to know how the federal judiciary, the Southern District, gets back its good name after that article,” the judge said. Zloch said he is considering suspending Spolter from practicing in South Florida federal courts for five years. He also is considering a fine, court costs and referring Spolter to The Florida Bar for discipline. The judge told Spolter he could mitigate the sanctions if the lawyer bought a full-page, court-approved advertisement in the Review apologizing for his previous position.

Things that struck me about from the article, which is worth reading in its entirety:
  • 96 pages? That's a long R&R! Judge Marcus would be proud of his former clerk.
  • What happens if the DBR gives Spolter the ad for free?
  • Why can't Spolter keep his mouth shut? (From the article: Zloch said Spolter’s statistical expert recanted his position at Rosenbaum’s hearing. The statistician had said it was nearly impossible for Spolter’s cases to randomly end up with Zloch only to be dismissed. That’s when Spolter stood up and said the judge was wrong. “The expert just called me up last week and spoke to me about this case again, and he said to me that he stood by his testimony,” Spolter said. Zloch retorted to Reinhardt, “He apparently still maintains his position.”) Painful. SFLawyers has a funny post about this.
  • Is Judge Zloch the right judge to be deciding the sanctions? Or should some other judge do it?
  • Should lawyers be permitted to criticize judges without fear of being reprimanded? (More from the DBR: The Spolter case raises the issue of the free speech rights of attorneys who criticize a sitting judge. Last year, The Florida Bar reprimanded Fort Lauderdale attorney Sean Conway for calling Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman an “evil, unfair witch” in a blog post that appeared around Halloween 2006. Conway maintained his statements were protected opinions but stipulated to the Bar’s disciplinary decision.)


Anonymous said...

Spolter=loose cannon.

Anonymous said...

Well, now that we are on it...

Don't you think posting the video clip entitled the empire strikes back could be viewed as comparing Zloch to an evil character?

That is the problem with this whole thing....what is the limit if any to this vs. raising a legitimately held gripe (even if wrong), the Bar rules prohibit the following:


(a) Impugning Qualifications and Integrity of Judges or Other Officers. A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, mediator, arbitrator, adjudicatory officer, public legal officer, juror or member of the venire, or candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office."

1) Did the guy think he was lying? Probably not.

2) Did he say it recklessly?
Maybe...but he did have an expert.

Anonymous said...

H.R. 3200, the health-care bill under debate in the House, explicitly prohibits coverage for illegal immigrants.

Anonymous said...

John B. Thompson, J.D.
5721 Riviera Drive
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

September 9, 2009

The Honorable Joel F. Dubina
Chief Judge, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
56 Forsyth St. N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Re: Attack by Southern District of Florida Judges on the First Amendment

Dear Chief Judge Dubina:

We have a problem down here, and I believe the Eleventh Circuit would do well to step in, right now, to help solve it.

Chief Judge Moreno and his immediate predecessor in that post, The Honorable William Zloch, have declared war upon the First Amendment right of lawyers to speak about fact-based misconduct of judges in this District Court.

I attach as just some of the proof thereof an article that has appeared this day on the front page of the Daily Business Review. I believe Judge Zloch has, by his illegal conduct, done far more damage to “judicial independence” than the lawyer he is targeting. There are so many things wrong, legally and constitutionally, with what Judge Zloch is doing and how he is doing it, that I won’t even begin. I will note that he apparently has no working understanding of In re Murchison. And forcing an apology to mitigate one’s sentence? This is stuff right out of North Korea or Iran.

I include also for your consideration my letters of even date to the United States Attorney here and to Judge Napolitano of Fox News. I am more than willing to come to Atlanta and share my concerns and the concerns of others, and the facts I know about all this, under oath, if that is what the Eleventh Circuit desires. Others are available as well.

This “open season” on lawyers by federal judges in this District has got to stop, and I intend to stop it and will stop it. I and countless others would appreciate the Eleventh Circuit’s assistance in this regard. If you all decide not to provide it, then we will bring these judges into conformance with the Constitution by our own efforts.

This is criminal conduct by Article III judges. It is scandalous. This is precisely the kind of nonsense that has caused the American people to distrust our judiciary.

Regards, Jack Thompson

David Oscar Markus said...

6:30, obviously I wasn't comparing Judge Zloch to "an evil character" (just as I wasn't comparing Spolter to Luke Skywalker... I was pretty critical of Spolter in the post, saying that his conspiracy theory was "wild" and that his comments to the judge were "painful.") But I am going to remove the movie trailer to the post because I don't want anyone to even suggest that is what I was intending. It clearly was not.

South Florida Lawyers said...

I didn't see the purported Judge Zloch/Darth Vader comparison either, and given the pop culture references I personally enjoyed the clip.

Anonymous said...

Well, of course you were comparing Zloch to the Evil Empire's Emperor. You even called the thread "Judge Zloch Strikes Back," as in the second Star Wars movie, the Empire Strikes Back. Duh.

The problem with you, Mr. Markus, is that you don't have the courage of your convictions. People who run anonymous posting blogs rarely do. Consider the sociopath Rumpole, who thinks he has some inherent constitutional right to post libels against people and hide his identity. Well, the recent ruling in the "New York Skank" case in which another Google-run web site had to cough up who the anonymous posters were has taken care of Rumpole's childish confusion.

You compared Judge Zloch to the Emperor in Star Wars. You were right on the money, as the recent sentencing reported today in the Herald proves what a berobed weirdo this guy is. He thumbed his nose at the Eleventh Circuit, telling them he wasn't going to obey their order in the Hendrick case. We'll see about that.

Take a good look at this Evil Emperor. He's likely to be removed from the bench. Jack Thompson