Tuesday, April 30, 2024

New episode -- For the Defense with Judge Kevin Newsom

I am very excited to share this bonus episode with you -- an interview with my law school classmate, Judge Kevin Newsom. I think you'll really enjoy hearing from Judge Newsom, who is both whip-smart and completely engaging. You'll recall we've had other 11th Circuit judges on the show before, including Chief Judge Pryor, Judge Rosenbaum, and Judge Abudu, as well as District Court Judges Charles Breyer, Jed Rakoff, and former Judge John Gleeson. I went into these interviews of our federal appellate judges thinking they might be hard to approach and difficult to connect with. But Judge Newsom is another example of a wonderful person who is extremely down to earth.

You can access it on Apple, Spotify, or any other platform from our website here. I hope you enjoy the episode with the terrific Judge Kevin Newsom.

Thank you! --David

Hosted by David Oscar Markus and produced by rakontur

Monday, April 29, 2024

"The notion that '[n]o man is above the law and no man is below it' is fundamental to our democratic republic’s continuing viability."

 That's not a judge or Justice in one of the Trump cases.  It's how Judge Rosenbaum started her opinion in U.S. v. Victor Hill, but I suspect she was thinking about the immunity case before SCOTUS last week.

In any event, the rest of the intro:

That principle applies equally to sheriffs (and other officers of the law) and detainees. And 18 U.S.C. § 242 vindicates that principle. It imposes criminal liability on anyone who, under color of law, willfully deprives another person of their constitutional rights. Under § 242, a jury convicted Victor Hill, the former Sheriff of Clayton County, Georgia, of using his position as the Sheriff to deprive detainees in his custody of their constitutional rights. Hill now appeals.

Hill oversaw the Clayton County Jail. At that jail, officers used restraint chairs for “safe containment” of pretrial detainees “exhibiting violent or uncontrollable behavior.” But six times, Hill ordered individual detainees who were neither violent nor uncontrollable into a restraint chair for at least four hours, with their hands cuffed behind their backs (or, in one instance, to the sides of the chair) and without bathroom breaks. Each detainee suffered injuries, such as “open and bleeding” wounds, lasting scars, or nerve damage. Based on these events, a jury convicted Hill of six counts of willfully depriving the detainees of their constitutional right to be free from excessive force, in violation of § 242.

Hill challenges that conviction on three grounds. We reject each one. First, Hill had fair warning that his conduct was unconstitutional—that is, that he could not use gratuitous force against a compliant, nonresistant detainee. Second, sufficient evidence sup-ported the jury’s conclusion that Hill’s conduct had no legitimate nonpunitive purpose, was willful, and caused the detainees’ inju-ries. Third, the district court did not coerce the jury verdict but properly exercised its discretion in investigating and responding to alleged juror misconduct.

So after careful consideration, and with the benefit of oral argument, we affirm Hill’s conviction.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Will there be a Trump surprise?

Pundits are already predicting how the Trump jury will decide his case. On MSNBC, commentators are saying that it’s hard to imagine anything but a guilty verdict based on how they see the case. On Fox, viewers are told that it’s going to be tough for Trump to walk because New York is so heavily weighted Dem. So how will folks react if Donald Trump is found not guilty? It got me thinking about the biggest "surprise" verdicts in American history.

 O.J. Simpson trial | Summary, Lawyers, Judge, Dates, Verdict, & Facts |  Britannica

 Networks Break Into Programming for Casey Anthony Verdict: Acquitted of  Murder (Video) 

 True Crime Cleveland revisits infamous Sam Sheppard case, Torso Murders  (photos) - cleveland.com

Breaking News : r/MichaelJackson

Who else you got?

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Second Chances

By John R. Byrne

Nice article by Jay Weaver in the Herald yesterday about Darryl Richardson, a man who turned his life around after being sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge Seitz back in 2006. Richardson, whose sentence was shortened to 17 years, was released in 2021 and took advantage of the district's CARE court program. CARE stands for “Court-Assisted Re-Entry court.” The program, created by Judge Seitz and currently being overseen by Judge Williams and Judge Reid, has been operating since 2016. It helps participants, who are on supervised release, re-enter the community, connecting them with resources that help them with financial literacy, employment, and medical resources. 

Richardson recently graduated from Miami Dade College’s Culinary Institute, crediting Care Court for pushing him to succeed. I know a lot of effort goes into the program from the Court, probation, and the US Attorney and Federal Public Defender’s offices. It’s cool to hear about those efforts paying off.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Opening statements in New York v. Donald Trump

If you were giving the opening statement for the prosecution, what would your first line be?

And if you were representing Donald Trump, what would it be?

I imagine that the prosecution will start with something like -- No one is above the law.  Even former Presidents.  Donald Trump illegally interfered with the election by doing X, Y, and Z. 

And the defense will start with something like -- Prosecutions should not be political and that's all this is; President Donald Trump is innocent.  He did not interfere with the election.  He was shaken down by a stripper and he paid her.  There's nothing illegal about that. 

How would you do it?

Friday, April 19, 2024

The Second Time Around


Guest Blogger Oliver A. Ruiz:

By now, you are no doubt aware that Taylor Swift's new album was released at midnight. Unless you don't have a smartphone, radio, or TV. 

Speaking of TV, some will recognize that to also mean "Taylor's Version," a reference to the albums that Ms. Swift has re-recorded in recent years. You may even know that she has two such albums left to re-record (or maybe just one more, if Reputation TV was also released last night, or very soon as rumored; h/t Kelly Malloy). 

But why do musical artists re-record albums? You may be wondering if this is permitted by copyright law? What does this mean for agreements with record labels? All good questions, and hopefully, this will be your chance to impress a Swiftie in your life. 

Basically, there are a few types of copyrights associated with musical works. Relevant here, these are the compositions (lyrics and melody) and the sound recordings (the original performance, or master recording). This circular talks about the difference. Commonly, the artist will own the copyright in the composition, but music labels negotiate to obtain the rights to the sound recordings. The rights to the sound recordings are typically very lucrative and come with the right to, among other things, license those recordings. The agreements between the artists and the record labels typically have a restriction on re-recording for a period of years, to avoid having the artists re-record the works.

In Taylor Swift's case, the restrictive time period lapsed a few years ago, opening the door for her to re-record her early albums. For some artists, there may be little to gain in doing so, but for a world-renowned artist with a major following like Ms. Swift, it has been a successful endeavor. 

Other artists have done the same, albeit for different reasons. See, for example, Def Leppard.

For more information on Ms. Swift's re-recordings and a discussion on copyright law and the dynamics of record deals, you may be interested in reading this law review article:

Justin Tilghman, Exposing the "Folklore" of Re-Recording Clauses (Taylor's Version), 29 J. Intell. Prop. L. 402, 406 (2022).

Thursday, April 18, 2024

"Not guilty means not guilty."

That was Sentencing Commission Chair, Judge Carlton W. Reeves.  From FD.org:

The bipartisan United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously today to prohibit conduct for which a person was acquitted in federal court from being used in calculating a sentence range under the federal guidelines (USSC press release available here).

“Not guilty means not guilty,” said Commission Chair Judge Carlton W. Reeves.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year sidestepped the question of whether the practice was unconstitutional, with several justices saying they would wait for the Sentencing Commission to first decide whether to address the issue.

The Commission revised its policy statement on age, permitting judges to downward depart based on age if appropriate in light of today’s richer understanding of the science and data surrounding youthful individuals, including recognition that cognitive changes lasting into the mid-20s affect individual behavior, culpability and the age-crime curve.

The Commission also passed a range of additional reforms, including those that bring uniformity to sentencing for certain gun and financial crimes and provide a potential downward departure based on age.

The amendments passed by the Commission today are available here. If Congress does not act to disapprove the changes, they will go into effect on November 1, 2024.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Rest in Peace, Senator Graham

By John R. Byrne

Senator Bob Graham passed away yesterday. He was a great leader for Florida and our country during his years as a state representative, state senator, Governor of Florida, and, most recently, as a United States Senator from 1986 to 2005. 

During his nearly 20 years in the Senate, the Harvard Law graduate helped select numerous district and circuit court federal judges, many of whom are still serving today.

Graham was well-respected on both sides of the political aisle, reflected by key positions he held, including as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks. And he was a true Floridian, born and raised in Coral Gables and attending the University of Florida as an undergraduate.

The Herald covers his incredible life and career here. If you hit a paywall, here is the AP write up

Rest in peace, Senator Graham.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Should Trump be excused from his state trial…

 … so that he can attend his son's high school graduation and the U.S. Supreme Court argument in his case?

Despite your views of Trump, isn't this a no-brainer? Why is the judge giving him a hard time on these things? 

Meantime, Trump apparently fell asleep during trial. But we don't have cameras to see it. Just ridiculous. 

We've all seen judges and jurors nod off during trials. The Supreme Court has said that it's not ineffective for a lawyer to fall asleep during trial... what about a defendant?

In other news, it looks like the Supreme Court is going to reverse another conviction because of prosecutorial overreach.  I enjoyed this exchange with Lisa Blatt:

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that the statute applies to rewards only "in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving anything of value of $5,000 or more," she said.

"I'm sorry, doesn't the nexus requirement get rid of most of this?" she asked.

"The doctor who removes your wart, fine. But the doctor who takes your gallbladder out or does your face, like my plastic surgeon, no, that's worth over $5,000," Blatt answered, drawing laughter in the courtroom.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

News & Notes

1.SCOTUS will hear Fischer v. United States on Tuesday, which will impact the January 6 cases as well as others. The issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in construing 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), which prohibits obstruction of congressional inquiries and investigations, to include acts unrelated to investigations and evidence. 

 The WaPo has more here, as does SCOTUSBlog. Many are expecting, yet again, for the Supreme Court to say that prosecutors and lower courts have stretched statutes too far.

2. Speaking of SCOTUS, here's a nice AP piece about Lisa Blatt from Williams & Connolly, who has argued almost 50 cases before the High Court. A snippet:

She can be strikingly informal, in one case referring to the highest court in the land as “you guys.” She is often blunt, once telling Justice Elena Kagan that her question was factually and fundamentally wrong. She has resorted to the personal, in one case where she felt her Harvard-educated opponent was being condescending. “I didn’t go to a fancy law school, but I’m very confident in my representation of the case law,” the University of Texas graduate said.

“Texas is a fine law school,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, just as the arguments were ending and before the court handed Blatt a unanimous win.

Blatt also can be hyperbolic, cautioning last year that a decision against her client, a Turkish bank, would be “borderline, you know, cataclysmic.” A ruling that recognized a large swath of Oklahoma as tribal land would have “earth-shattering” consequences, she said in 2018. The justices risked causing “madness, confusion, and chaos” if they ruled for a high school student who was suspended from the cheerleading squad over a vulgar social media post.

3. Linda Greenhouse has this op-ed about whether the Supreme Court needs to get along or not. From the conclusion:

The Supreme Court and other appellate courts are categorized in the judicial literature as collegial courts. “Collegial” in that usage is a term of art. It doesn’t mean that the judges necessarily get along. It means that these multimember courts act as collectives, when a majority coalesces. In a forthcoming memoir, “Vision,” Judge David Tatel, who recently retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, offers as good a definition of judicial collegiality as I have seen. “Judicial collegiality,” he writes, “has nothing to do with singing holiday songs, having lunch or attending basketball games together. It has everything to do with respecting each other, listening to each other and sometimes even changing our minds.”

Years ago, Mark Alan Stamaty used a “Washingtoon,” his cartoon that ran regularly in The Washington Post, to depict the Supreme Court justices walking in single file, each carrying a bundle. “The Supreme Court Goes to the Laundromat” was the title. I thought it was so funny that I kept it for years tacked to the New York Times cubicle in the Supreme Court pressroom. It portrayed, to be sure, a collegial Supreme Court.

But it was a cartoon.

4. And finally, there's a little trial starting tomorrow in NYC. So many people are saying that Trump has no chance because it's in NY. I still have faith in our jury system. I discuss it with Katie Phang on her show here:

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Judge Moore Finds City of Miami Engaged in Racial Gerrymandering

By John R. Byrne

Significant order entered by Judge Moore yesterday in the racial gerrymandering lawsuit filed against the City of Miami. After holding a bench trial back in January, Judge Moore ruled that the City violated the Constitution by drawing voting maps with the goal of having various districts in the City elect commissioners of certain races (specifically, three hispanic commissioners from the three majority Hispanic districts, a black commissioner from a majority Black district, and a white commissioner from a majority "Anglo" district).

The Court wrote: "[W]hether the City believed the pursuit of diversity in representation could justify racial gerrymandering is immaterial. The harm stems not from the City’s objective, but rather, from the City’s racial classification of every Miamian in pursuit of that goal. By sorting its citizens based on race, the City reduced Miamians to no more than their racial backgrounds, thereby denying them the equal protection of the laws that the Fourteenth Amendment promises." 

Order excerpted below.

City of Miami Order (J. Moore) by John Byrne on Scribd

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Ecuador's former comptroller on trial before Judge Williams

 It's AUSA Michael Berger versus defense lawyer Howard Srebnick.  Law360 has the story on openings:

Ecuador's former comptroller on Tuesday denied accepting and laundering $10 million in bribes in exchange for eliminating fines imposed against a Brazilian company for constructing a shoddy hydroelectric plant, telling a Florida federal court he was charged with crimes because the project's corrupt manager lied to avoid prison time.

Speaking on behalf of 73-year-old Carlos Ramon Pólit Faggioni, Howard M. Srebnick of Black Srebnick PA told a jury during opening statements that his client was charged because of the "bought and paid for" testimony of an ex-Odebrecht SA executive working with the U.S. government and that the Miami real estate allegedly used to launder the bribes came from legitimate transactions by Pólit's son.

"Carlos Ramon Pólit did not launder a single dollar" and former Odebrecht executive Jose Santos "negotiated a deal like no one else on the planet Earth" to avoid going to prison over paying bribes to make heavy fines against his company go away, Srebnick said.

Pólit was charged in 2022 with conspiracy, concealing the bribes through a series of intermediaries and spending the illicit proceeds on expensive South Florida real estate, including a house in the exclusive community of Cocoplum in Coral Gables, Florida.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Should Adeel Abdullah Mangi be confirmed to the Third Circuit?

 The NYT has an opinion piece about the issue and starts with a story about our own Judge Raag Singhal:

In 1999, a Florida lawyer, Anuraag Singhal, represented a man convicted of gunning down a police officer. Singhal had to somehow persuade a jury that his client, Jeffrey Lee Weaver, should face life in prison rather than the electric chair, the punishment the hard-charging prosecutor sought.

“I hope you can find some love in your heart for Jeff Weaver, and I hope you’ll let him die in prison,” Singhal said, according to a report in The Sun Sentinel, the local newspaper. The article described tears rolling down his cheeks and his voice breaking with emotion as he pleaded for Weaver’s life. Singhal won the day. A divided jury recommended life in prison.

Singhal was clearly a very talented attorney and a man on the rise. He would become active in conservative legal circles, joining the local chapter of the Federalist Society. In 2019, President Donald Trump appointed him to a federal judgeship in Florida. He was confirmed that December with a bipartisan Senate vote of 76 to 17. Evidently no one raised a peep about his defense of a man who killed a police officer, nor his pivotal role in reducing the man’s sentence despite Republican posturing about protecting law enforcement.

Among the Democratic senators who voted to give Singhal this lifetime appointment were three centrists who often burnish their bipartisan bona fides and tough-on-crime credentials: Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, both of Nevada, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

So it is striking that these same three senators have come out to announce that they will not support an eminently qualified nominee of their own party’s president after Republican senators and conservative activists smeared him, first accusing him of being an antisemite and, when that effort fizzled in the face of staunch support from mainstream Jewish organizations, of being soft on crime and supporting cop killers.

This is an odd comparison.  Unfortunately and unjustly, Judge Singhal did face a lot of opposition when he first tried to become a judge.  His name went up over 15 times to the Governor for state circuit judge before he was finally appointed.  Then he distinguished himself as a judge, so the (ridiculous) issue of who he represented as a criminal defense lawyer became a non-issue (but only sort-of because Senator Nelson refused to return his blue-slip in 2018).  Second, and this is not meant to be a criticism of Mangi, but Judge Singhal ensured the Sixth Amendment rights of his client, a criminal defendant.  The criticism of Mangi seems wrong as well, but it's different than any potential critique of Judge Singhal for giving a strong closing argument for his client.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Monday news and notes

 1.  The DBR covers the tragedy involving Judge Matthewman's son.

2.  The NYT wrote about Trump's lawyer, Todd Blanche.  I had him on the podcast here, if you'd like to actually hear from him.

3.  DOJ believes it doesn't need to comply with subpoenas.  Judge Ana Reyes had a different idea.  Via Politico.

4.  Some are calling on Justice Sotomayor to resign so Biden can appoint her successor and there is not another RBG situation.

5.  Reuters: Justice Breyer is going to hear cases on the 1st Circuit.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Another SDFLA acquittal

 This one was before Judge Rodney Smith, who granted a Rule 29 motion.  Congrats to the defense lawyers -- Sam Rabin and Jessica Duque.  (I am particularly proud of Jessica, a former student in my White Collar Seminar at UM).  

Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald covers the case here:

Two years ago, a South Florida lawyer was charged with her fiancé and others in what appeared to be a textbook conspiracy case accusing them of applying for million of dollars in federal government loans meant to help small businesses survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pembroke Pines attorney Mariel Tollinchi had to post a $250,000 bond, including $50,000 in cash, and wear an electronic ankle bracelet, to gain her release before trial while her liberty and law practice remained in limbo. But on Friday, Tollinchi, 37, gained her freedom when a federal judge acquitted her of fraud, money laundering and identity theft charges after prosecutors completed their side of the case during a jury trial in Fort Lauderdale. The evidence in the case was so weak that U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith granted her lawyers’ motion for acquittal on all charges before they even put on a defense. “Intent was the issue at trial, and the government failed to prove any intent on her part to defraud the [pandemic] loan program,” her attorneys, Jessica Duque and Sam Rabin, said Monday after the week-long trial. They called Tollinchi a “victim” of her former fiancé’s deception. Tollinchi’s legal victory — which kept her from being convicted, going to prison and losing her law license — followed a string of similar outcomes against almost all of the other defendants charged in the $8 million pandemic loan fraud case.


But at Tollinchi’s trial, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office were unable to prove that Tollinchi conspired with her former fiancé, Philossaint, to file falsified applications for PPP and other loans, which were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration after Congress passed the CARES Act in March 2020. Prosecutors accused Tollinchi of fabricating loan applications for four businesses: The Technical Advantage, Ferro’s Entertainment and Production, Perfect Landscaping, and a nonprofit charity, Cinda Foundation. All of the businesses were owned by either her or her parents, according to the indictment. The loan requests were for a total of $253,865; of that amount, Tollinchi received about $142,000 and her parents the balance, according to the indictment. Prosecutors claimed that Tollinchi conspired with Philossaint to file bogus applications for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, including falsifying business revenues, number of employees, payroll expenses and corporate taxes. The SBA agreed to forgive the loans, which were processed by financial institutions, as long as they were used for payroll and other overhead expenses. Rabin, a veteran criminal defense attorney, said Tollinchi filed “legitimate” paperwork with her loan applications and tax records but Philossaint “doctored” them to maximize his commission fees — without her knowledge. “She didn’t see it coming,” Rabin said. His partner, Duque, said if federal authorities had investigated the case more deeply, they would have discovered that Philossaint and Tollinchi were not in cahoots. “She was absolutely a victim in all of this,” Duque said.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

RIP David W. Matthewman (son of Judge William Matthewman)

 Just an absolute tragedy.  And such hard news to swallow.  Our thoughts go out to Judge Matthewman and his entire family during this very difficult time.  Here is the obituary:

David W. Matthewman was born in Miami, Florida and was tragically and senselessly killed at the young age of 34 in Palm Beach County, Florida. David was driving his car safely in the early morning hours of Friday, March 29, 2024, heading north in the northbound I-95 express lane near Boca Raton with his friend, Jasi, in his car. David and the young woman were both wearing their seatbelts, but a reckless wrong-way driver recklessly came driving southbound in the I-95 northbound express lane and violently crashed head-on into David’s car. David was instantly killed, the young woman seated next to him was killed, and the wrong-way driver died. This unfathomable, senseless, and preventable tragedy not only killed David and Jasi, but it has also devastated David’s entire close-knit family and the countless other people whose lives he had touched.

David was an incredibly talented artist, ceramicist, and photographer who had just returned from the NCECA 58th Annual Coalescence Ceramics Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. David often worked his artistic magic at the West Palm Beach Armory Art Center and at other art venues in South Florida. He provided hands-on ceramics classes to families, to military veterans, and to others. He created beautiful pottery and works of art. He always saw beauty in the smallest details in life. David also made incredible drone videos for real estate and other uses. David was a wonderful, kind, generous, talented young man with an incredibly beautiful soul. David graduated from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2008, where he was a cross country varsity athlete, and from Florida Atlantic University in 2013 with dual degrees in Studio Art and Criminal Justice. He was doing so well and was so very happy when he was tragically and senselessly taken far too soon from this earth.

David was the beautiful and much-loved son of Judge William Matthewman and Diane Matthewman of Highland Beach, Florida. David leaves behind his brother Scott W. Matthewman (Careni Lopez) of Inglis, Florida and their two children Reef and Kai, his sister Kelly D. Matthewman of Tega Cay, South Carolina, his brother Mark Matthewman (Joeylyn) and their daughter Avie of Brooksville, Florida, his uncle Keith Seidon of Fort Lauderdale and his son Michael, his uncle James Matthewman, Jr., (Marlene) and their children, Jimmy, Shawn, and Barbara Ann, as well as numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and relatives spread throughout the country. David was predeceased by his Aunt Sue Concha (Matthewman) and her son Stephen Melus, his uncle Robert F. Matthewman, his “Grandma Rosie”, Rose O. Phelan (Matthewman), his “Grandma Nana”, Dolores Seidon, his Grandfather Arnold Seidon, his Grandfather James S. Matthewman, Sr., and his step Grandfathers James S. Phelan, and Gary Weisenthal.

David was a very spiritual soul who loved the ocean, the beach, kayaking, sea turtles, snorkeling, running, and biking. Growing up he ran many 5K, 10K and other longer races with his Dad, brother, sister and Mom. He was also a hockey player and loved to watch Florida Panthers games with his Dad. He was very sweet to his Mom, often stopping by unexpectedly with orchids, pottery, coral and other treasures he had made or obtained.

On Thursday evening March 28, 2024 around 9:00 p.m. David texted his Dad to say that he was back in town and coming over for dinner that weekend with news and pictures to share. His last words to his Dad that fateful evening were “I love you,” and the last words back to David from his Dad were “I love you too”. Approximately 6 hours later, early on Friday, March 29, 2024, David was dead on I-95. Please pray for David’s soul, hug your loved ones, and teach them to drive safe and sober.

David’s family will receive friends on Saturday, April 6, 2024, from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., with a 7:00 p.m. Celebration of Life service at the Gary Panoch Funeral Home, 6140 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33487. No formal burial will follow as David’s ashes will be placed at a later date into an environmentally friendly living reef which will be placed offshore of South Florida, with his family present, as he would have wanted. David also donated his organs to help others after death, as was his way in life.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, https://canvas.armoryart.org/donate.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH SERVICE (link will be active just before the 7:00 p.m. service time)

Professional arrangements by:
Gary Panoch Funeral Home
6140 N. Federal Highway
Boca Raton, FL 33487

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, https://canvas.armoryart.org/donate.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of David W Matthewman, please visit our floral store.


Reviewing the Judges

By John R. Byrne

For a lawyer, serving as a federal law clerk can be one of the most rewarding (and valuable) experiences of his or her legal career. Every lawyer I've met who has clerked in this district has raved about their experience. But it's not always so rosy. A woman named Aliza Shatzman, who clerked in D.C. state court, ending up greatly regretting her clerkship, working for a judge who not only mistreated her but attempted to derail her legal career. She's now helped create a database that will allow clerks to anonymously rate their judges. The Washington Post covers it here. Will be interesting to see how widely used this will be, including in our district.

Monday, April 01, 2024

No Shotguns Allowed

By John R. Byrne

At the end of last week, Judge Moreno sent the plaintiffs in the latest Joe Carollo/City of Miami lawsuit back to the complaint drawing board, dismissing their First Amended Complaint without prejudice. Though Carollo is already proclaiming victory in the media, it’s clear that the order was focused on pleading deficiencies. In short, use your rifle not your shotgun when drafting complaints (and proofread!). Order below. A good one to read before you file a multi-count complaint against multiple defendants in any civil case.

Order (J. Moreno) by John Byrne on Scribd