Thursday, May 29, 2014

Judge Gleeson is awesome

He is pushing the U.S. Attorney's Office in the EDNY to cure an injustice related to the trial tax:
  Because clemency is not a realistic option, the United States Attorney is respectfully requested to reconsider her decision not to agree to an order vacating two or more of Holloway’s 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) convictions. The onerous enhancement in § 924(c)(1)(c) for “second or subsequent conviction[s]” under § 924(c) masquerades as a recidivism enhancement, but when the “second or subsequent” conviction occurs in the very same case as the first one, as they did here, the result is frequently a manifestly unjust mandatory sentence with a disparate impact on black men.1 Holloway deserved harsh punishment for his three robberies, but no one can reasonably contend that his mandatory sentence was not excessive.
The case will be called for a status conference on June 20, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. The government is respectfully directed to take the steps necessary to produce Holloway in court at that time. Harlan Protass is appointed pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act to represent Holloway. Once again, I ask the United States Attorney to exercise her discretion to permit me to reopen the sentence in this case to do justice.In the absence of a government agreement to reopen the sentencing, I will address the pending application to reopen Holloway’s collateral challenge to his conviction. The extraordinary trial penalty in this case may warrant further briefing on the constitutional issues raised by such a use of prosecutorial power. In addition, though I long ago rejected a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel’s admission in his opening statement that Holloway in fact robbed the three victims of their cars, upon further reflection I may direct a closer inspection of that issue as well.

The Attorney General should be applauded for taking steps (even if they are small steps) to fix the ridiculous sentences and incarceration rates in the U.S., but we need more judges like Gleeson who is willing to tell it like it is.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Should judges participate in plea discussions?

The Rules and 11th Circuit have an absolute ban on the practice.  But Judge Jed Rakoff persuasively argues that we should make a change:

Too many innocent people go to prison because the American plea bargain process is broken, says a prominent New York judge with an innovative new solution.
Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rakoff argues judges should become more involved in the process so prosecutors armed with harsh mandatory minimum sentences are less able to bully defendants, he told the Daily News in a rare sit-down interview.
"The current process is totally different from what the founding fathers had in mind," because nearly all cases end in pleas, he said.
Nationwide, 97% of federal defendants plead guilty instead of taking their chances at trial. Thirty of 316 convicts exonerated by DNA evidence had entered a guilty plea, according to the Innocence Project.
The current system forces defendants to "choose between Satan and Lucifer," says Rodney Roberts, a Newark man exonerated this year on charges related to a sexual assault after 17 years in prison.
"I knew I didn't do it, but I didn't want to be in prison for the rest of my life," Roberts said. "They made me believe they were ready to enforce a life sentence.”
That's why Rakoff is proposing a mechanism that would designate junior judges to hear evidence and issue plea bargain recommendations early on in cases.
The junior judges, called magistrate judges in the federal system, would hear from prosecutors and defense lawyers separately before weighing in. Their recommendations wouldn't be binding.
Rakoff says the setup, which could begin as a pilot program, would bring plea bargaining out from behind closed doors and relieve pressure on defendants deciding whether to risk a longer sentence by heading to trial.
"There are some people who will say, 'I'm innocent and I'm going to fight to the end,' but they're the exception," Rakoff observed.
Rakoff would most like to see Congress trash mandatory minimums, but isn't holding his breath. He says an all-out elimination just isn't politically feasible.
Our state system allows the practice and the sky hasn't fallen.  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday news and notes

Welcome back everyone.  Some happenings:

1.  Judge Rosenbaum's cases should be reassigned this week and next.  Look out for the notices.

2.  There were more Rothstein pleas last week.  Is this still news?

3.  Did you know that Supreme Court cases get revised after they are published?  The NY Times explains:

The Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice. The revisions include “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and the author of a new study examining the phenomenon.
The court can act quickly, as when Justice Antonin Scalia last month corrected an embarrassing error in a dissent in a case involving the Environmental Protection Agency.
But most changes are neither prompt nor publicized, and the court’s secretive editing process has led judges and law professors astray, causing them to rely on passages that were later scrubbed from the official record. The widening public access to online versions of the court’s decisions, some of which do not reflect the final wording, has made the longstanding problem more pronounced.

Unannounced changes have not reversed decisions outright, but they have withdrawn conclusions on significant points of law. They have also retreated from descriptions of common ground with other justices, as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor did in a major gay rights case.                    
The larger point, said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a law professor at Stanford, is that Supreme Court decisions are parsed by judges and scholars with exceptional care. “In Supreme Court opinions, every word matters,” he said. “When they’re changing the wording of opinions, they’re basically rewriting the law.”

4.  Justice Ginsburg performed the wedding for an old client of hers.  Great story, and here's the intro:

Stephen Wiesenfeld’s first collaboration with Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court was in 1975.
She was a Columbia Law School professor, head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project and making a name for herself as the lawyer systematically prodding the court to rewrite its jurisprudence concerning gender equality.

Wiesenfeld was a young father whose wife had died in childbirth, leaving him with a son he loved and a grievance with his government, which he felt had done him and his family an injustice.
The result of their lawsuit was a unanimous victory for Wiesen­feld and an important link in the landmark chain of cases Ginsburg brought to get rid of laws she felt made irrational distinctions between men and women.
The two met again at the Supreme Court on Saturday, nearly 40 years later. Ginsburg, of course, is now the court’s senior liberal justice.
And Wiesenfeld was a 71-year-old groom.
Ginsburg officiated at Wiesen­feld’s marriage to Elaine Harris in front of family and friends, including Jason Wiesenfeld, the little boy at the center of Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld.
“I’ve kept up over the years with all of them,” Ginsburg said in an interview last week, referring to the clients in the cases she either briefed or argued before the Supreme Court in the 1970s. 

5.  One of the few areas that the 11th Circuit consistently reverses trial judges on is sentencing guideline determinations without the requisite proof.  Here's one dealing with loss calculations that originates from the SDFLA, U.S. v. Isaacson.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rothstein dominoes

Stu Rosenfeldt is the latest domino to fall, again to a 5-year cap.  If he hadn't cooperated and agreed to plead, what would he have been facing after a trial?  How do you feel about this sort of charge-bargaining?

Anyway, have a great Memorial Day weekend.  See you Tuesday.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Mozie’s home was a den of degradation."

That's one of the opening lines in Judge Carnes' opinion in United States v. James Mozie.  I'm sure you can bet how this one is going to come out.... But just in case there was any doubt, here's the whole intro:
James Mozie hosted “parties” at his house six days a week, every day but Sunday. With the help of his family members, including his teenage sons, he sold food, alcohol, and drugs to his party guests. He also sold sex, providing young girls who would strip for tips and have sex for money. Many of them were teenagers and one was only thirteen. For them Mozie’s home was a den of degradation.
Mozie found the teenage girls he used by posing as a benevolent businessman who ran a modeling agency. He was anything but benevolent and no respectable business would have been named, as his was, “Pretty Pink Pussy Enterprises.” Mozie preyed on vulnerable girls, many of whom were teenage runaways with no money and no shelter. In return for alcohol, drugs, and a place to stay, the young girls became what he called his “merchandise.”
Mozie’s brothel business led to a ten-count indictment charging him with eight counts of child sex trafficking, one count of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking, and another count of producing child pornography. He was convicted on all ten counts and sentenced to life imprisonment. This is Mozie’s appeal in which he raises three challenges to his convictions and two challenges to his sentence.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Judge Moreno moving on up...

Although Judge Moreno will be stepping down as Chief Judge this summer (and handing the baton over to Judge Moore), he will still be very active for the Circuit. The Circuit and District judges of the Eleventh Circuit have just elected Judge Moreno to be the next district judge member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from the 11th Circuit.

Congratulations to Judge Moreno.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How much time should Christina Kitterman get? (UPDATED)


Paula McMahon has the preview of the sentencing here

When Scott Rothstein's former protegee Christina Kitterman went to trial earlier this year, she became the only one of his associates — so far — to roll the dice and force prosecutors to prove their case.
It didn't work out for her. Jurors found her guilty of three counts of wire fraud for impersonating a Florida Bar official during an April 2009 conference call that federal prosecutors said kept Rothstein's massive Ponzi scheme alive for its final six months.
Kitterman is facing a very uncertain fate when she is sentenced Tuesday in federal court in West Palm Beach.
Sentencing guidelines recommend a punishment of 20 years in prison, her defense attorney Valentin Rodriguez Jr. said, but he hopes U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley will sentence her to probation.
"She had to endure Scott Rothstein for many years, which is punishment enough," Rodriguez wrote in court records submitted to the judge.
Kitterman is a convicted felon, will lose her license to practice law and was "blacklisted in the legal community," Rodriguez wrote.

How much time should Kitterman get?


  free polls 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Who will Rothstein vote for in the next election?

He's still eligible to vote!  From the Sun-Sentinel:

One of South Florida’s most notorious felons, Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, is still a registered voter in Florida.
His presence on the voter rolls was discovered by Broward civic activist Andrew Ladanowski and confirmed Monday by Mary Cooney, director of public services at the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office.
Rothstein is still listed as a registered voter at his tony, previous address at 30 Isla Bahia Drive in Fort Lauderdale.
He’s now at an undisclosed location because he is in a witness protection program within the federal prison system because he supplied authorities with information about organized crime figures. His whereabouts have been a closely guarded secret since June 2010, when he was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for masterminding a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme out of his opulent law office on Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Boulevard.
Voting records list his mailing address as 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. That’s the downtown Bank of America building where his Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm was headquartered before his scheme imploded.
He last voted in the 2008 presidential election. A registered Republican, he voted in the 2008 state primary and in the 2008 presidential preference primary. He first registered to vote in February 1998.
His wife, Kim, is also still registe
red to vote, Cooney said.

Robin Rosenberg's hearing before the Judiciary Committee set for Tuesday morning

With Judge Robin Rosenbaum moving up to the 11th Circuit, we now have room for Judge Robin Rosenberg.

It's nice that things are starting to happen in the District.  Pretty exciting stuff.

Good luck Judge Rosenberg.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eleventh Circuit issues fractured 1-1-1 opinion today

Judge Pryor for the majority frames the issue this way: "This appeal requires us to decide whether a seaman can recover money damages under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30104, for an injury stemming from excessive work hours and an erratic sleep schedule."  He then reverses, and renders judgment in favor of Maersk "because Skye’s complaint of an injury caused by work-related stress is not cognizable under the Jones Act, which concerns injuries caused by physical perils."

Judge Fay concurs, but asks the Supreme Court to jump in:  "Most respectfully, my hope is that the Supreme Court will revisit this area of the law. As Justice Ginsburg stated in her dissent in Gottshall: “Instead of the restrictive ‘zone’ test that leaves severely harmed workers remediless, however negligent their employers, the appropriate FELA claim threshold should be keyed to the genuineness and gravity of the worker’s injury.” Gottshall, 512 U.S. at 572, 114 S. Ct. at 2419 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting)."

And Judge Jordan dissents: "Congress enacted the Jones Act “for the benefit and protection of seamen who are peculiarly the wards of admiralty.” Atl. Sounding Co. v. Townsend, 557 U.S. 404, 417 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Given that purpose, and absent definitive indication from the Supreme Court, I would not read the Jones Act to preclude liability for an employer who makes a seaman work so hard and so continuously that he suffers physical injury in the form of heart disease, heart attack, organ failure, seizure, or stroke."

Which side are you on?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lawyer on the lam may be "armed and dangerous"

Paula McMahon has the details here:

The FBI has issued a 'Wanted' notice for a Broward County lawyer accused in a $19 million fraud — declaring him "armed and dangerous" — after he failed to show up for an April 29 court hearing.
Subject ImageMichael Ralph Casey, 67, of Oakland Park, has been missing for two weeks, according to the FBI in Miami.
Casey was indicted in August 2012 on federal mail and wire fraud conspiracy charges for his alleged involvement in what prosecutors said was an international investment scheme that defrauded more than 700 investors out of approximately $19 million in less than 18 months.
Federal prosecutors said that Casey, who practiced law in Fort Lauderdale for 36 years, conspired with two convicted felons to defraud investors. Casey was once the chairman of the Broward County Bar Association's Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section and had worked for several well-known law firms.
Casey "should be considered armed and dangerous," according to FBI officials. Anyone with information about him should contact their local FBI office or the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
FBI spokesman Michael Leverock said the warning was issued for the safety of any law enforcement officer or member of the public who comes into contact with Casey because agents were told that Casey may have access to a firearm.
"We also believe that anyone who flees while their case is going through the court process can be considered desperate," Leverock said.

Here's the FBI wanted poster.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"I don't think my legislative record that's over a decade old is indicative of what kind of judge I'd be [on the federal court]."

That was Michael Boggs, a Georgia Court of Appeals judge nominated by President Obama to the 11th Circuit, being grilled by the liberal wing of the Senate Judiciary Committee at today's hearing.  More from Talking Points Memo:

Democratic senators took the lead in grilling Boggs.
"I was offended by the flag, Senator," he told Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) under questioning, saying it was a "terribly agonizing" decision to choose between his own conscience and the will of his constituents, whom he suggested wanted to keep the Confederate-linked flag. But he said: "I'm glad the flag was changed."
Boggs said he was very sensitive to the views of African-Americans at the time and that those who know him recognize his vote intended no disrespect to them. "If someone is accusing someone of being a racist, I don't know how you disprove that," he said.
Amid questioning from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Boggs declined to reveal his positions on abortion rights and marriage, saying they're "irrelevant" to how he'd act as a federal judge and that it would be "inappropriate" for a judge to discuss personal views.
 He disowned one bill he voted for, which would disclose the number of abortions performed by doctors, which critics said would endanger their safety. "In light of what I subsequently learned, I don't think it would be appropriate to" do that, Boggs said.
Notably, when asked about marriage rights, Boggs said his views "may or may not have changed" since he voted for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pointed out that Boggs and the other six nominees Tuesday were negotiated as a package deal between Obama and Georgia's two Republican senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.
"I have noted before that there is no 'deal' negotiated with me as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee or with any of the other Senators," Leahy said in written testimony. "The constitutional responsibility of advice and consent resides with each individual Senator, and there is no such thing as a binding deal that negates each Senator’s responsibility to determine the fitness of a judicial nominee for a lifetime appointment."
Boggs promised Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) he'd abide by Supreme Court precedent when asked about rulings on contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), federal treatment of gay married couples (Windsor v. US) and other gay rights rulings.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) voiced her skepticism with Boggs' promises to respect precedent, noting that nominees frequently make that promise to the Senate but behave differently when they become judges.
Boggs faced friendlier questioning from the committee's ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who asked about his judicial philosophy but didn't bring up the other contentious issues.

Monday, May 12, 2014


That was the vote today, confirming Robin Rosenbaum to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (filling Judge Rosemary Barkett's seat).


She's only 47 years old and will be on the court a long time, helping to reshape it with other moderate judges appointed by President Obama -- Judges Jordan and Martin.

Now another seat opens up on the district bench.  

Back to blogging

A big thanks to Jeff Marcus and MNR for stepping up and guest blogging last week. Good stuff!

Lots of goings on in the district last week with the progression of new judges and the elevation of Judge Robin Rosenbaum to the 11th Circuit, which should officially happen today. Congratulations to Judge Rosenbaum in advance!

She's still busy though, sentencing Rogerio Scotton to 9 years on Friday. He was the race car driver who represented himself during trial and engaged in all kinds of shenanigans, including claiming (falsely) that he had a sex tape to prove his marriage was legit. Paula McMahon of the Sun-Sentinel has more:

He also was found guilty of two counts of lying to immigration officials about his marriage to a Cuban woman. Jurors found that the Brazilian citizen entered into a sham marriage with Ailyn Mollinedo in July 2008 so that he could remain in the United States.
Mollinedo testified that the marriage was one of convenience. She said that she had never lived with Scotton and never had sex with him. Under U.S. immigration rules, foreign citizens who marry Cuban nationals may qualify for U.S. permanent resident status.
Prosecutors said that Scotton bullied Mollinedo and tried to control her by holding on to her green card. Mollinedo testified that she entered into the marriage as a favor to Scotton and stayed in it because he threatened her and her family if she told the truth.
Scotton insisted that the marriage was real and insisted many times in court that he had video footage of him having sex with Mollinedo that he wanted to show the judge and jury to prove that their relationship was real.
The judge said Friday that there was no evidence at all that any such video had ever existed and that Scotton's continued pretense in court — to her and the jury — was "absolutely inappropriate and obstructive."
The sex-tapes pretense was just one of many inappropriate acts committed by Scotton, the judge said.
"I don't think they were indiscretions," Rosenbaum said. "I think they were purposeful attempts to mislead this jury and this court."

Friday, May 09, 2014

A "Holder Effect" on Federal Sentencing?

Last summer at the ABA delegate meeting, Attorney General Holder made news when he said what many of us in this business have known for a long time, “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.” Speech here.  After the nation's chief law enforcement officer joined the chorus for sentencing reform, some legal pundits wondered whether there would be any kind of "Holder Effect" driving down the length of federal sentences.

Sentencing guru and law professor Doug Berman thinks there just might be (post here) and speculates that perhaps judges are thinking even harder about the wisdom of imposing guideline sentences that call for lengthy incarcerations.  Three weeks ago, the U.S. Sentencing Commission issued its quarterly sentencing data report for the last quarter of FY 2013 (here) and Professor Berman has finished crunching the numbers.  His analysis reveals a small uptick in judge-initiated, below-guideline sentences to just over 20% of all federal sentences (up from 18% from early 2013) -- the largest percentage of below-guideline sentences for any quarter on record.  But the news is not all good.  The single largest determinant of a below-guideline sentence still remains the recommendation of the prosecutor on behalf of a cooperating defendant.  

Is it too much to hope that the Department backs up AG Holder's words with below-guideline recommendations for non-cooperators in appropriate cases?  Now that would be change we could believe in.  

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Confirmation Update: More Good Judicial News

Today, Judges Darrin Gayles and Beth Bloom both were approved by voice vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Judge Robin Rosenbaum should have her vote in front of the full Senate completed sometime Monday. Best of luck to all three nominees.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Not Breaking News: It's Still Illegal to Carry a Concealed Gun in Florida During a Zombie Apocalpyse

From the "Only in Florida Department" on a slow news day.  The NRA is on high alert this week after a rare sunshine state legislative defeat.  The bill, which would have allowed Floridians to carry concealed firearms while evacuating during a state or local emergency, was voted down by the Florida Senate after Senator Dwight Bullard, apparent fan of The Walking Dead, sarcastically proposed the bill be amended to include any "act relating to the zombie apocalypse."  The Florida Sheriffs Association ("FSA") also opposed the bill, with one sheriff calling it "insane."  Standing its ground, the NRA issued a response alert (here) yesterday labeling the criticism of the FSA, the "barking of a cut dog."    

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

TRADITION! Supremes Endorse Prayers for Legislators 5-4

Yesterday, in Town of Greece v. Galloway (decision here), the Supreme Court reversed the Second Circuit and upheld the practice of opening monthly town board meetings in Greece, New York, with a prayer given by clergy.  The 5-4  decision upheld the practice—even though the prayers were usually led by Christian clergy—because it comported with the "tradition" of legislative prayer and did not coerce participation from non-adherents.  Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, opined that “legislative prayer lends gravity to public business, reminds lawmakers to transcend petty differences in pursuit of a higher purpose, and expresses a common aspiration to a just and peaceful society.” One can only imagine  what the state of good government would be without the time-honored tradition of legislative prayer . . . 

The Majority Opinion also found that the small town's omission of a local Buddhist temple and several nearby synagogues from the monthly prayer rotation was unintentional.  Justice Kagan, writing for the dissent, ignored the Buddhist temple angle, arguing instead that the monthly legislative prayers either should have been non-denominational in content or rotated among clergy of different faiths. 

More interesting was Adam Liptak's piece yesterday in the New York Times on a recent study concluding that both liberal and conservative Supreme Court Justices tend to vote in free speech cases for the "side they agree with."  Article here.  

Judge Rosenbaum Update -- Full Senate Vote Likely Within the Week

Judge Robin Rosenbaum is FINALLY nearing a full Senate vote.  Senate Majority Harry Reid laid the groundwork today by calling for a cloture vote on Judge Rosenbaum's nomination to occur no later than this Thursday. The timing of the actual final vote is unclear as Republicans can demand up to 30 hours of post-cloture delay. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Judge Rosenbaum’s nomination in March and both Florida Senators are supporting her nomination.  Her confirmation cannot come soon enough.  Normally a court of twelve, the 11th Circuit currently only has eight full-time judges -- a fallout of the judicial confirmation gridlock.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo (aka DUI lawyer day)!  The Amigos are excited to be guest blogging this week (and looking forward to an early margarita happy hour on DOM’s expense card).  As we commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (more here), you might be surprised to learn who (Mexican drug cartels?) is behind the rising cost of a quality lime.  From CNN.

Cartel members have demanded a certain percentage of orchard owners' lime shipments . . . .  The violence in the region and threats from criminal organizations has made it all but impossible for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to certify the limes that are emerging from Mexico are being grown in a sanitary way.

The fallout has jacked up prices for U.S. and Mexican consumers and businesses accustomed to celebrating Cinco de Mayo with limes in their beers, margaritas and mojitos.  A case of limes now goes for close to $100, up substantially from reports of $15 to $20 last year. 

Stay thirsty my friends  . . .

In other news, some Scalia clerk needs a stiff drink right about now.  Last week, Nino penned one of his trademark blistering dissents denouncing regulatory overreach, only to have overreached himself by misstating the facts of a prior unanimous Supreme Court decision -- that he himself authored.  Oops. The blogosphere has been having fun with this one.    The latest here.


Friday, May 02, 2014

Guest Bloggers

Please join me in welcoming Jeff Marcus, Jeff Neiman, and Dan Rashbaum as my guest bloggers next week.  The three amigos just started their own law firm MNR.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Republicans hold over vote for Judges Bloom & Gayles

Ho hum... more of the same... and for no reason.  Just because:

Sen. Leahy: “Florida nominees backed by Senators Rubio and Nelson to fill judicial emergency vacancies but I understand Republicans want to hold them over, as is their right … I hope we can vote them out next week; I don’t think there is any controversy about any of them. We should be able to get them confirmed before the recess.”

People for the American Way aren't happy with Sen. Rubio on this.

I wish voters knew more about this wasteful and silly process. 

Good luck to Judges Bloom and Gayles next week!

HT: Glenn Sugameli

Bethany Bandstra selected for inaugural Stuart A. Markus Award

Thank you to the many friends and readers of the blog who have donated to the scholarship that we have set up in my dad's name at the University of Miami School of Law. The Stuart A. Markus Award recognizes an individual student each year for outstanding work in one of the School of Law’s in-house clinics. The winner is selected by vote of the in-house, live-client clinic directors.

Bethany Bandstra, an outstanding member of the 2L class, is the inaugural recipient of the Markus Award. Bethany has done superlative work in Prof. JoNel Newman's Health Rights Clinic. On the first day of school last fall, Bethany was assigned a difficult hearing before a federal administrative law judge that was scheduled for early September. She immediately and without once complaining immersed herself in the client's factual circumstances and the law relevant to the case. She was an excellent advocate at the hearing, presenting both her client's testimony and that of a psychiatric expert witness. She has, throughout her tenure in the Clinic this year, been handled the most difficult cases and clients with great alacrity. This spring she has completed two extremely well researched and well written appellate briefs while continuing to represent all her individual clients whose cases are in a variety of procedural postures. She has also taken a leadership role in one of the Clinic's three policy advocacy projects this spring, working on an access to justice initiative. Bethany is so accomplished that she also served as a mentor and expert to many of her classmates. 

Stuart A. Markus (BED ’54, J.D. ‘57) practiced law in Miami for over 50 years.  Throughout his career, Stuart fought hard for his clients in every area of the law.  He never turned away a person in need, and helped countless people with practical, hands-on advice and representation that went far above and beyond the norm.  The Markus Award is given annually to a student who shares that caring spirit, and who has made a meaningful difference in someone’s life – which is something Stuart did every day.

Congratulations to Bethany!

Donations can also be made online at this link:

Donors should select "Other" from the drop-down menu and type "Stuart Markus Scholarship" in the field to earmark the funds.