Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Election Tuesday

Thank goodness we don't elect judges in federal court. I'm not saying it's a great system we have, but I think it beats elections. Asking the lawyers that appear before you for money... Ads that have nothing to do with judging... Yuck. 

Anyway, I was very proud of having the blog after lasts week's comments and posts about Hogan and Richey. People wrote such beautiful tributes and memories. Speaking of which, there is a memorial this Friday for Jay Hohan at the Biltmore at 11am. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Judge Gayles' new clerk was just married and it's in the NYT


Shahrzad Daneshvar, the daughter of Afsaneh Pournaderi Daneshvar and Farhang Daneshvar of Fair Oaks, Calif., was married Aug. 25 to Travis Viola, a son of Teresa Viola and Vincent Viola of New York. Judge Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit officiated in her chambers in Chicago.
On Sept. 17, A. Reza Sheikholeslami, emeritus professor of Persian studies at Oxford, is to lead a traditional Persian ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
Ms. Daneshvar, 28, is keeping her name. Next month, she is to begin a clerkship in Miami for Judge Darrin H. Gayles of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She graduated summa cum laude from George Washington. She also received a master’s degree in education from the University of Miami and her law degree with honors from the University of Chicago.
Her father retired as an industrial engineer in Fair Oaks.
Mr. Viola, also 28, is the vice president for hockey operations for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. He graduated from Fordham. His father is owner, chairman and governor of the Panthers.
The couple were originally supposed to meet on a blind date in 2010. Though that date was canceled, they kept in touch, and met in person five months later in New York.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Jay Hogan obit in the Herald

Jay Weaver starts with a story I just love hearing about every time it's told:

Everyone seems to have a story about courtroom legend James Jay Hogan, who died this week at age 82, but no one will ever forget this surreal moment: In the mid-1980s, the Miami defense attorney got a key government witness to testify that in his previous life he was Hollywood icon Jean Harlow.

The credibility of the witness, it is safe to say, was instantly in serious question.

During the federal trial, Hogan unveiled a blown-up photo of the Roaring Twenties blonde bombshell, who died in 1937 of a brain infection. The man testifying was born five years later. Hogan’s client, a Miami lawyer accused of preparing phony real-estate documents for the witness, was acquitted.

Former law partner Hy Shapiro recalled how Hogan dug up the tidbit about Harlow from a little-known book written by the witness, a revelation that drew gapes and howls from jurors. He said Hogan’s secret weapon was his work ethic.

“He would eat, sleep and breathe a case when he got into it,” Shapiro said on Thursday. “He would delve more deeply than anyone into a witness’ life.”

the newspaper story from the time, which is fun to read.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Judge Cooke rules for Jason Pierre-Paul against ESPN

The NYP covers the story here:
A Florida judge has green-lighted Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against ESPN and its reporter Adam Schefter for posting his private medical records online to millions of readers.
The ruling by Miami federal Judge Marcia G. Cooke sets the stage for the state’s second high-profile legal battle in a year between a sports star and a media organization over privacy issues. In March, wrestler Hulk Hogan won a record-breaking $140 million victory over Gawker for publishing his sex video.
Cooke agreed in a ruling she issued from the bench Thursday morning after an hour of arguments.
“This just went beyond the pale,” sports law expert Daniel Wallach said of Schefter’s decision to post the private records.
“If this is not where the line is, where would it be?” said Wallach, of the law firm Becker & Poliakoff. Wallach, who is not involved in the case, expects the decision will mean a quick settlement.
“The judge has the case on fast track with discovery cutoff in Februrary, meaning in-season depositions,” Wallach explained.
Lawyers for ESPN and Schefter had asked the judge to toss the case, citing First Amendment protections.
Pierre-Paul is suing for unspecified damages. He is also represented by lawyers Kevin Fritz and John C. Lukacs.
Meantime, I wanted to thank all of the readers who posted comments yesterday about Hogan and Richey.  This is what the blog is all about.  Thanks.  --dm

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

RIP Jay Hogan and Bill Richey

I'm so sorry to report that two great men and great lawyers passed away yesterday. Please share your memories/stories in the comments and I will post them. Sad.

From Judge Bob Scola on Jay Hogan:

"One of the true legal legends passed away last night. I tried a seven month long trial with him in Tampa and he was the real deal. It was like participating in a legal seminar every day ( and morning since we met at 5:30 am each day to get ready for that day's session). He invited me to share space with him after the trial and I was with him for 4 years until taking the bench. He was an invaluable resource and had the rare combination of exceptional talent coupled with an incredible work ethic. He was generous with his time, advice and in all other ways. He will definitely be missed."

From Judge Vance Salter on Bill Richey:

I saw your piece on Bill Richey and Jay Hogan this morning—tragic, shocking, I have to say. Bill was an associate at Steel Hector & Davis, following Janet Reno there from the State Attorney’s office (before Janet ran for the office herself). A trial lawyer’s trial lawyer, laser-guided but unfailingly polite and professional. Harlingen, Texas to HLS—big jump. He will be missed.

From Steve Bronis on Jay Hogan:

I was so saddened to learn of passing of Jay Hogan. Like Judge Bob Scola, I was honored to share office space with Jay for many years. He was a cherished mentor. He was a true gentleman and a masterful trial attorney. He had an uncanny ability to foster a great rapport with the jury. Jay was the most skillful cross-examiner I have ever known. I was privileged to be co-counsel with him on many cases including the famous Court Broom federal trial. Jay’s cross-examination of Ray Takiff in that case was absolutely stunning. It should be required reading for every trial attorney. He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

From Robert Kuntz on Jay Hogan:

I was a reporter then and covered Court Broom from voir dire to the verdict.

Jay Hogan was just amazing to me. Tall, long elegant hands, big-toothed smile -- and that unlit cigar that I don't think they'd let you walk around with in the courthouse these days. He was a consummate gentleman of the old school. He was totally at ease in the well of that imposing Central Courtroom and when he was up, every eye in the enormous place was on him. Judge Gonzalez didn't exactly defer to Hogan, but Hogan very certainly had the run of the place.

Ray Takiff, lead prosecution witness and literal bag man, had been all bombast and swagger (at least as much as he was capable of while claiming to be so debilitated with a heart condition that Judge Gonzalez reduced his testimony to half days). Hogan on cross was understated, leonine, and he stalked Takiff from the start. He built Takiff up, asking about some of his exploits. (Takiff told a story about walking through a police line of a surrounded house, saying he would speak with "his client," and get him to surrender. Takiff said he then got into the house, handed the barricaded STRANGER a business card and got the case on the spot. True? Who knew? But Takiff told it like it was.)

Then Hogan smoothly went in for the kill.

I won't recall verbatim after all these years, but there was a moment. Takiff had claimed that, if not for being barred from taking the case (since he was by then in the secret employ of the government), he'd have walked General Noriega, who had been tried in that same courtroom. Part of what Hogan asked went something like:

". . . and you'd have gotten him off?"
"You'd would have WON that trial?"
"There wasn't anyone better than you?"
"No one."
"You would have saved the guy?"
"I would have."
"It would have been the case of a lifetime, right?"
[Starting to break] "Yes."
"But instead, all you are now is a rat?"
[In tears] "Yes. I'm a rat."
"You're not a lawyer anymore, you're just a rat?"
[More tears] "Yes. Yes. I'm a rat"

Anyway, that's how I remember it more than 20 years later. But I'll bet, if you pull up the transcript, it was even better than that.

From Judge Jonathan Goodman on Bill Richey:

This is the first comment I have ever posted on a blog, legal or otherwise. But Bill Richey's passing is an extraordinary event.

Bill hired me out of the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1988. I became partners with him, Kirk Munroe and Alan Fine less than a year later.

Bill taught me many things. Some of those things concerned the practice of law and being a trial lawyer.

On the law side, Bill was a master of strategy, planning and investigation. That man knew how to take a deposition, let me tell you.

But other things Bill passed on to me were about being a good person, how to deal with people, how to be a mensch and other life lessons.

I hope some of those lessons stuck, even a little.

Bill played a huge role in my life, and I will miss him dearly.

From Judge Milton Hirsch on Jay Hogan

Jay had a defendant in the famous "Court Broom" trial. Ed Carhart also had a defendant, and although "Court Broom" was tried in federal court, the case against Ed's client turned in substantial part on a question of Florida criminal procedure. Ed hired me to testify on that question as an expert, thus affording me a free front-row seat to one of the signature trials in modern Miami history.

So I testified. The government crossed. And then for no particular reason -- I honestly think it was to relieve the tedium of the moment -- Jay Hogan announced that he had a few questions for this witness.

I can, to this very day, reproduce from memory almost the entirety of his cross of me. (No, I'm not going to, but I can.) Ask me to recount a couple of highlights from my largely highlight-free career as a lawyer and a judge; at the top of the list you'll find, "I was cross examined by Jay Hogan."

I couldn't pick up my own bar tab for weeks. Every criminal lawyer in town was happy to buy my drinks just to hear me tell what it was like to be crossed by Hogan.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Judge Altonaga gives nod to IRS over Miccosukees

The Herald covers the big ruling here:

The Miccosukee Indians have lost a contentious tax case that experts say will strengthen federal government efforts to collect more than $1 billion in overdue personal income taxes.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga found late Friday that a tribal member must pay $278,758 in taxes, interest and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service for failing to file a tax return in 2001. The judge concluded her family's gaming income — a distribution of casino profits — was not exempt from U.S. tax laws, a ruling likely to have ripple effects on many of the West Miami-Dade tribe’s 600 members.
Altonaga's decision, which will be formally filed as a judgment against the Miccosukees and tribe member Sally Jim later this week, provides the IRS with the legal power to compel other members — including Chairman Billy Cypress — to pay personal income taxes on casino gaming distributions dating back more than a decade.

In other news, The Florida Bar just approved the 5th annual anti-human trafficking conference by the Hispanic National Bar Association on Friday 9/16/16 at St. Thomas University School of Law, Moot Court from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for 5 CLE credits. Registration is free. Please RSVP to: mvargas@hinshawlaw.com.

The conference will cover trafficking in the Cambodia, a Congressional paper on trafficking in Latin America, religious organizations’ aid to the rescued, the correlation between environmental degradation and trafficking.

Monday, August 22, 2016


That's how this 7th Circuit opinion by Judge Easterbrook starts:
Rats. This case is about rats. Giant, inflatable rats, which unions use to demonstrate their unhappiness with employers that do not pay union‐scale wages. Cats too—inflatable fat cats, wearing business suits and pinkie rings, strangling workers. Here is what they look like, as deployed during a labor dispute in the Town of Grand Chute, Wisconsin:

As the pictures show, the rat and the cat are staked to the ground, to prevent the wind from blowing them away. Those stakes led to this litigation.

I can't see to get the pictures from the opinion to paste into the blog post, so go check out the opinion itself. It's pretty funny. And happy first day of school!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Eric Trump testifies in Southern District of Florida

Susannah Nesmith for Bloomberg has the details:
Eric Trump took a page from his father’s playbook Tuesday, telling a judge the billionaire’s renovations to a foundering Florida golf club he bought made it even better.
“We took something that had really gone bad and we made it great again,” Eric Trump, the executive vice president of the golf club, told a judge in West Palm Beach, echoing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan.
The Trump Organization saved Trump National Golf Club Jupiter because it was insolvent, Eric Trump testified. Most members love the renovated golf club now, he said. The suit was filed by former golfers at the club who say they were ripped off when Trump didn’t refund their deposits and barred them from the facilities.
After having insisted for months that people who resigned their memberships at the club didn’t lose access, Eric Trump admitted he was wrong on that point and that some had been barred.
“I’m the first person to have enough hubris to say when you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” he said.
The former members sued the golf club in Jupiter to recover almost $5 million in deposits that they say should have been refunded when the elder Trump changed the membership rules after buying the venture from Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. in 2012.

No jury in this one... it will be up to Judge Marra:

Both sides in the dispute agreed to waive a jury trial, so U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra will decide whether Trump must pay the club’s former members back.
Marra said at the conclusion of the two-day trial on Tuesday that he’d rule later.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Donald Trump in trial in SDFLA

No kidding.  I'm surprised it's not getting more play, but Donald Trump is a defendant in a civil lawsuit in WPB before Judge Marra in a trial that started yesterday.  He testified by taped deposition.  Here's the PBP:
 In classic Donald Trump fashion, the GOP presidential nominee testified Monday that improvements he made to an ailing Jupiter country club were “beautiful,” the members were “very happy” and those who weren’t were just “angry people” he didn’t want in his club anyway.
Never mind that the reason those people are angry is they believe he stole as much as $6 million from them.
Trump’s appearance at the breach of contract trial in U.S. District Court was limited to a roughly 25-minute video deposition. It was taken at his New York City offices in April 2015, long before anyone imagined the real-estate-mogul-turned-TV-celebrity would secure the Republican presidential nomination.
As expected, Trump denied allegations by members of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter that he improperly changed the rules of their membership contracts when he in December 2012 bought the financially troubled club from Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa for $5 million. He was equally dismissive of suggestions that he got the club at a bargain price by agreeing to assume an estimated $41 million in liabilities that hung over it because Ritz-Carlton promised to refund initiation fees, ranging from $35,000 to $210,000, to members who quit.
“It could have been the club would have closed and gone into bankruptcy and everyone would have lost money,” Trump testified. His purchase, he said, saved the club — and its members — from what he called “the ‘B’ word.”But, three members who filed the class-action suit on behalf of roughly 60 others when he refused to refund their membership fees, said Trump used their money to put the club on firm financial footing.Shortly after buying the club in a gated community on Donald Ross Road near Alternate A1A, he wrote members a letter, alerting anyone who had announced their intention of resigning: “you’re out.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

James Cohn takes senior status

In early August, Judge James Cohn quietly took senior status.  It's not even reflected on the court's website yet.  Judge Cohn, one of my favorite judges, had the perfect demeanor for a federal judge.  Easy going and gentlemanly, yet decisive. Even when he ruled against you, you and your client felt like you got a fair shake.  Here's some information about Judge Cohn from Wikipedia:
Cohn was born in 1948 in Montgomery, Alabama. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama in 1971 and his J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1974. While at Alabama, Cohn was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.
Cohn served in the Alabama Army National Guard from 1970 to 1972, in the United States Army Reserves from 1972 to 1975, and in the Florida Army National Guard from 1975 to 1976.

Cohn served as assistant public defender in the Broward County Public Defender's Office in 1975 and as assistant state attorney in the Broward County State Attorney's Office in 1975 to 1978.

Cohn was in private practice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from 1978 to 1995; he worked for a year with the Michael Widoff law firm before beginning his own general trial practice in 1979.

In 1995 Cohn became a judge on the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.

President George W. Bush nominated Cohn on May 1, 2003 to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, to the new seat created by 116 Stat. 1758. Confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 2003, and received commission on August 1, 2003. He took senior status on August 5, 2016.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Legal Standards -- #ThrowbackThursdayEdition

This week, the Eleventh Circuit dusted off some old case law for the legal-standards sections of two published opinions.

In the first, the court, quoting one of its decisions from 2006, set forth the standard for grants of summary judgment:

We review de novo a grant or denial of summary judgment, viewing all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Bridge Capital Inv’rs, II v. Susquehanna Radio Corp., 458 F.3d 1212, 1215 (11th Cir. 2006). “Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Hallmark Developers, Inc. v. Fulton Cty., Ga., 466 F.3d 1276, 1283 (11th Cir. 2006); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).

In 2010 the drafters of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure replaced the word “issue” with “dispute,” supposedly because it “better reflects the focus of a summary-judgment determination.” But—as seen by this decision—the word “issue” is still quite frequently used.

Regarding motions to dismiss, the Supreme Court of the United States nearly a decade ago famously wrote that that the “no set of facts” standard described in Conley v. Gibson of 1957 “ha[d] earned its retirement.” In an important securities-law decision issued yesterday by the Eleventh Circuit, however, that “no set of facts” standard came back.

Review of a district court’s decision to grant a motion to dismiss is conducted de novo. Spain v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 363 F.3d 1183, 1187 (11th Cir. 2004). In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), but “[l]egal conclusions without adequate factual support are entitled to no assumption of truth,” Mamani v. Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). The motion is granted only when the movant demonstrates “beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45–46, 78 S. Ct. 99, 102 (1957); see also Flint v. ABB, Inc., 337 F.3d 1326, 1328–29 (11th Cir. 2003).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Caruso and company lead Johnson fight

I missed this DBR article last week, which details the developments with Johnson in the 11th Circuit, including the cert grant in Beckles.  Big ups to Michael Caruso, Janice Bergman, and Brenda Bryn for leading this fight.  Here's the intro:
Next term, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case from the Atlanta federal appellate court that could shorten prison terms for thousands of people.
Miami Federal Public Defender Michael Caruso won a coveted slot on the high court's docket for an issue that's roiling the federal circuits. In the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which stands alone on this matter, one judge went so far as to accuse her court of fomenting injustice through unforced errors.
The question for the U.S. Supreme Court is whether possession of a sawed-off shotgun is a crime of violence under federal sentencing guidelines for career offenders. Significant swings in mandatory sentence zones — from up to 10 years to 15 years to life — turn on the answer.
The court ruled a year ago in Johnson v. United States that a similar provision of the Armed Career Criminal Act is unconstitutionally vague. A "residual clause" in the definition of a violent felony allows enhanced sentences for any crime involving "conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another." Prosecutors argued that the definition covered nonviolent crimes like drunken driving and attempted burglary.
In Johnson, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for an 8-1 majority that the residual clause invites "arbitrary enforcement." The court decided the wording violates due process, being "so vague that it fails to give ordinary people fair notice of the conduct it punishes," in Scalia's words.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Arrest vs. surrender

It's a dirty little (not-so)secret in our system that cooperators are treated very differently than those who decide to fight.  Sometimes those discrepancies are justified, but many times they are not.  For example, if you cooperate and agree to plead guilty before charges are filed, you are allowed to surrender and immediately bond out.  But heaven-forbid that you want to fight the upcoming charges, you almost will certainly be arrested (at 6am in front of your family) and often-times, there will be a fight over bond.  There is simply no reason for this other than to punish people who want to fight. Unless a defendant presents a real danger or risk of flight, he should be permitted to surrender just like the cooperator.

The Opa-Locka case is a good example.  The cooperator was (rightfully) permitted to surrender.  From the Herald:
On Monday, the 51-year-old administrator surrendered in federal court in Miami on a charge of using his office to pocket thousands of dollars in bribes while shaking down local businesses seeking licenses in one of Florida’s poorest cities.
Appearing in handcuffs and leg braces, the once-popular city manager who resigned from his job last week pleaded not guilty, was granted a $50,000 bond and was released in the afternoon.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-gardens/article94388857.html#storylink=cpy

According to the Miami Herald, a "sweeping" indictment is coming out soon.  Will those defendants be given the same courtesy?  Why shouldn't those individuals also be permitted to surrender and post bond as well?  Is it a good use of resources to send the SWAT team in full riot gear to a white-collar defendant's home at 6am to arrest a defendant in front of his kids?  

Sunday, August 07, 2016

RIP Julie Kay.

How sad. She was such a nice woman and a great, crafty reporter. She really loved scooping everyone on law stories. Here's the DBR obit.  Rest in peace Julie.

Julie Kay
Julie Kay
Daily Business Review reporter Julie Kay so loved her job that when the opportunity arose to join a group of attorneys going to Cuba, she refused to let her battle with cancer get in the way.
Two days after receiving chemotherapy treatment, she boarded a plane with the international law section of the Florida Bar last year. She didn't tell anyone about the treatment because she was afraid she wouldn't be allowed to go. 
Kay, 54, died Sunday in Pompano Beach after a 10-year battle with ovarian cancer that included multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and a four-month clinical trial in Houston.
Kay was ferociously private about her health issues to the end, and friends said she saw it as a victory that so many people didn't know she was so ill. 
"She never complained about her illness and despised pity," said Sallie James, Kay's friend for more than 30 years. "She was a warrior with the kind of courage that is seldom seen anywhere. Julie loved being a reporter more than anything and always focused her energy on her work instead of her health."
For Kay, journalism was a kind of medicine for the soul. She reveled in finding "juicy" story ideas as business of law reporter at the Daily Business Review for more than six years. Her life revolved around reporting, her friends, and her nieces and nephews.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Missouri Public Defender just appointed the Governor to represent an indigent defendant

The letter is here.


H/T A.B.

Procedural Happenings

Last week, both David and South Florida Lawyers discussed the Eleventh Circuit’s trademark-infringement decision FIU v. FNU. The decision ought to be required reading for civil lawyers practicing in the Eleventh Circuit. It highlights an important consideration when filing and presenting cross motions for summary judgment in cases scheduled for a bench trial: How you go about it may affect whether the Eleventh Circuit reviews any appeal of a summary judgment de novo or only for clear error.

After the close of discovery, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. At a status conference, the lawyers largely agreed that the record was clear, and one lawyer suggested that the court “would not ‘learn anything new at trial that it had not already seen from both sides.’” Following these suggestions, the court scheduled a follow-up hearing on “cross motions for summary judgment slash bench trial,” where it heard further argument and “said that it understood the parties’ views of the record and did not see any ‘need for live testimony unless either party felt that it would like to add to or continue this proceeding.’” Three months later, the Court granted FNU’s motion for summary judgment and denied FIU’s motion for summary judgment.

In lengthy detail, the Eleventh Circuit analyzed whether it was reviewing “a summary judgment order or a final judgment entered after a bench trial.” The answer is important, because it determines whether review was de novo or for clear error, whereby any factfinding is given great deference, and obtaining reversal is next to impossible. “In the unique circumstances of this case,” the Eleventh Circuit concluded, “we think the district court’s decision is better understood as a judgment entered after a bench trial.” Affirmed.

(Of course, the Eleventh Circuit may have affirmed regardless of the standard of review it used. As summed up by South Florida Lawyers, "Did FIU seriously think there would be confusion?")


In other quasi-procedural news, the prior-panel-precedent rule remains as strong as ever.

Yesterday, relying squarely on the holding of one of its decisions from 2004, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a challenge by an adult bookstore and a woman with multiple sclerosis to the constitutionality of a municipal ordinance prohibiting the sale, rental, or lease of obscene material. Though “sympathetic” to the argument that the ordinance violated appellants’ due-process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, the panel felt “constrained by [its] prior precedent” and “obligated to follow it even though convinced it is wrong.” In an unusual step, the panel informed the appellants that they “are free to petition the court to reconsider our decision en banc, and we encourage them to do so.”

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

"DEET should be the new perfume in Wynwood"

Oof, what a disaster. Zika in Wynwood. The Herald has the details:

With a dozen local cases of Zika now confirmed in a single neighborhood, Miami-Dade County officials are ramping up efforts to combat the urban mosquito blamed for spreading the virus.

A team of 12 inspectors will be increased to 32 on Tuesday. They will patrol for breeding hotspots and hit those areas with back-pack foggers or other mosquito-killing treatments. More personnel will be added if needed, said public works and waste management spokeswoman Gayle Love.

Outreach efforts that began in February after Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency are also being increased. Over the weekend, the school district used its robo-call system to warn the families of some 355,000 school children to be on guard. The calls follow increased outreach that began with the start of the mosquito season in June, when the county sent mailers to every county resident about “a drain and cover” program which Love said is considered “the first line of defense” against mosquitoes.

Now where will Miami lawyers go to lunch?

An example why state court is fun, via David Ovalle:

True to the social media age, Genesis Davila only learned she had been stripped of her crown as Miss Florida USA when she saw a Facebook post featuring the runner-up accepting the title.

Now, she’s hoping social media will be her salvation.

The key evidence: an Instagram post cited by pageant management that purportedly showed Davila getting professional hair and makeup help, a supposed no-no under contest rules. But at a press conference Monday, her lawyer held up a blown-up photo of the post, pointing out the pic was dated more than a week before July’s Miss Florida contest.

Pageant boss Grant Gravitt Jr. cropped out the date on the Instagram post to falsely smear Davila, lawyer Richard Wolfe said in announcing a defamation lawsuit seeking $15 million — and a return of her crown.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Shouldn't the government let you move on with your life after an acquittal?

You would think so.

But not so much with Mike Pizzi, who the government tried to set up again (this time it was the State). There won't be an indictment or trial in this case, and Pizzi made it clear on tapes that he was clean. Dave Ovalle from The Herald has the scoop:

The allegations against Pizzi surfaced at an Aug. 6, 2015, meeting when Flores, again secretly recording the exchange, asked if Pinder was still getting a monthly $3,000 kickback from Pizzi for getting him the job. Pinder sounded baffled.

“Mike don’t give me sh-t,” Pinder said angrily.

“He owes you three grand a month. ... He’s f---ing you,” said Flores, who claimed Pizzi was also supposed to give him $1,000 a month.

With Flores at his side, a testy Pinder called Pizzi on speakerphone. “Are you f---ing me, Mike? ” Pinder told him. “He says you’re f---ing me.”

“What are you talking about,” Pizzi replied.

The conversation quickly turned to joking around and plans for dinner. “You saw how he changed the conversation?” Flores said after they hung up, adding: “He’s taking you to the cleaners.”

The three never got together for dinner. But Flores did meet with Pizzi on Oct. 13 at Lakes Seafood. He did not confront Pizzi, according to the secret tapes, asking only that Pinder “thought I was getting money from you.”

Pizzi replied that he paid nobody, then floated a plan to ask Pinder to get the city to hire him for “special litigation” at $150 an hour. “Just to get back in the door,” Pizzi said on the recording. “All he gets is great services at a great cost.”

Pizzi told the Miami Herald that Flores called him later, pressing him to get involved in a corruption scheme in Opa-locka. He said he sent Flores a text that he wasn’t for sale: “Jose. Thanks. my friend. But I’m not interested in Opa Locka. DON’T DO BUSINESS THAT WAY. SEE YOU SOON. THEY CAN FIND ANOTHER LAWYER.”

The two did not speak again until December, when Pizzi said Flores called to meet for a drink at the Havana Group Cigar Club in Miami Lakes. As football blared on the TV in the background, Pizzi urged Flores to stay away from Opa-locka and leave him out of city business.

“Do me a favor, never mention my name,” Pizzi said.