Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ferrer. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ferrer. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CJA Lawyers getaway

The District's Criminal Justice Act lawyers had their annual seminar in Naples. Chief Judge Moreno, Judge Cooke, and Judge O'Sullivan attended.

So did the U.S. Attorney, Willy Ferrer, and his second-in-command Ben Greenberg. Big shout out to Ferrer and Greenberg for coming -- they were the first USAO dynamic duo to ever accept an invite in the 13 years of doing this seminar. And they said all the right things.

1. Variances. Since Booker was decided, prosecutors still have mechanistically asked for guideline sentences. This was the mandate from the top -- the guidelines were always reasonable even though the Supreme Court made clear that this was not the case. In fact, the 11th Circuit has said again and again that there is no presumption that a guideline sentence was reasonable. No matter, prosecutors went in and always asked for a guideline sentence. Our district judges started complaining, and Ferrer and Greenberg said that their prosecutors will not simply ask for a guideline sentence in every case as that is unhelpful to the court.

2. Indictments and Plea Agreements. There have been a series of memos (from Thornburgh to Ashroft to Gonzalez) requiring that prosecutors charge defendants with the most serious charge they could bring (including 851 enhancements, etc) and requiring prosecutors to offer plea plea agreements only to the most serious charge in an indictment. The new Holder memo has changed all of that, and Ferrer & Greenberg said that they will make sure that the Holder memo gets implemented in their office ASAP. Although no specifics were really offered as the Holder memo is relatively new, they are studying how to make sure that there is "horizontal equity" (their term) and fairness.

3. Discovery. There are new memos on discovery obligations (including Brady/Giglio) as well. Ferrer & Greenberg said that all prosecutors are undergoing training to learn about these memos and their discovery obligations in general. Although many line prosecutors are still telling the defense bar that they are only required to disclose what is required under Rule 16, Ferrer & Greenberg assured the CJA lawyers that this was going to change under their watch.

So, there you have it -- they said all the right things. Now we'll see what happens. After they left, most of the lawyers were grumbling that they hadn't seen any change so far. No prosecutors were asking for variances and no one had seen any open file discovery. But Ferrer made clear that he's only been there a month and that it would take some time to get all of these changes in place and the prosecutors trained on these changes. It was a great sign that they accepted the invitation to come speak to the group.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"He's just a natural leader -- it's innate, yet he's so modest."

That's Willy Ferrer's former boss Murray Greenberg in the nice Herald article about Ferrer becoming U.S. Attorney. Here's the intro:

When Barack Obama was elected president, Miami's Democratic machine revved up to raise the profile of Wifredo Ferrer -- now the likely nominee for U.S. attorney in Miami.
His résumé was an easy sell: former deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, a one-time federal prosecutor in Miami and chief of Miami-Dade County's federal litigation section.
The son of Cuban immigrants also was valedictorian at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, first in his class at the University of Miami, and president of his class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
``When the president was elected and it was clear a Democrat was in the White House, the stars aligned,'' said Obama fundraiser J. Ricky Arriola, who met Ferrer, also an Obama backer, when they were both associates 18 years ago at Steel Hector & Davis in Miami.
``But he stands on his own -- no amount of political spinning would have gotten him this position,'' said Arriola, who was appointed by Obama to the president's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. ``Willy worked very hard to get it.''
Attorney General Eric Holder, former deputy to Reno during her tenure in that post, is overseeing a final FBI review of Ferrer this month before the president is expected to nominate him as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Ferrer, 43, married with two sons, would be the fourth lawyer of Cuban descent to fill the prominent job -- but the first appointed by a Democratic president.

The article concludes with more from Murray:

"He hasn't forgotten his background. He is Hialeah. He's very much at home in the Cuban culture, but he's also very much at home anywhere in Miami, and anywhere in the country.''

Our prior coverage of Willy is here .

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Breaking news-- U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer resigns (UPDATED WITH QUOTE FROM FERRER)

Multiple sources have emailed me that Willy Ferrer has resigned today as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of a Florida. Ben Greenberg is acting. More to follow.

UPDATE -- I have it confirmed that Ferrer has stepped down.

UPDATE 2 (1:15pm) -- Willy was kind enough to speak with me and confirm the news. He is a very good guy and we should all wish him the best. His resignation is effective on March 3, and Ben Greenberg already has been approved to be the acting U.S. Attorney starting March 4.  Willy announced the news at an office-wide meeting today after serving our community for 7 years as U.S. Attorney.  He previously worked as an AUSA for 6 years.  He had this to say:

There has been no greater honor than to serve and protect the same community that opened its arms to my parents when they immigrated to this country.  For almost seven years, I have been blessed to work alongside remarkable men and women in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, community leaders, and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners who strive tirelessly to combat crime and promote a safer, stronger and more united district.  I am incredibly proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together, in and out of the courtroom, including building meaningful bonds of trust with the diverse community we serve.
 I really like the sentiment, especially the opening line about his parents coming to this country, which welcomed them with open arms.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Jay Weaver is reporting that the White House has officially nominated Wilfredo Ferrer to be U.S. Attorney of the District:

His résumé was an easy sell: He is a one-time federal prosecutor in Miami and is currently chief of Miami-Dade County's federal litigation section. He's also the former deputy chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
The son of Cuban immigrants also was valedictorian at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, first in his class at the University of Miami, and president of his class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
"First of all, he understood better than anybody I've worked with how the federal government works with local and state governments, " Reno said in an earlier interview. "If I wanted to write the book about how to be the U.S. attorney, Willy would be one of my models."
If confirmed by the Senate, Ferrer would replace U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman. Ferrer, 43, married with two sons, would be the fourth lawyer of Cuban descent to fill the prominent job -- but the first appointed by a Democratic president.

Congrats to Willy! Hopefully Kathy Williams' nomination will come soon!

Monday, January 12, 2015

How much time should Anthony Bosch get?

Apparently MLB thinks he should get a big reduction even though he damaged the sport.  From the Miami Herald:
As Bosch awaits sentencing in February, lawyers for Major League Baseball — whose operation he corrupted from his anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables — are pointedly telling prosecutors what a great help he has been in cleaning up the sport. In a letter, they likened Bosch to a onetime New York Mets batboy who got caught up in an earlier steroid scandal and received lenient treatment after cooperating with authorities. ...
A short sentence of one year — as opposed to three times that long — is possible for Bosch, 51, who pleaded guilty in October and is free on bail despite testing positive for cocaine use during court-ordered monitoring that began after he surrendered in August. Prosecutors have already agreed to recommend a sentence reduction in his plea deal, as long as Bosch, who is in a substance-abuse program, tells the truth.
Despite his tarnished reputation, Bosch began attracting support from MLB officials soon after the steroid scandal broke and the league sued him in 2013 — especially when the onetime anti-aging guru agreed that June to turn on his customers, including New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez.
Soon after, high-powered MLB lawyers, including former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, sought a meeting with the U.S. attorney in Miami to promote Bosch’s role as the league’s star witness against Rodriguez and the other ballplayers, according to newly disclosed court records. They were hoping to gain assurances from the U.S. attorney’s office that it would consider Bosch’s assistance to Major League Baseball.
The meeting was held in U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer’s office in September 2013. Mitchell, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, and two other league lawyers pitched him on Bosch’s contribution to MLB’s investigation of banned substance use. Members of Ferrer’s senior staff were also present.
In a follow-up letter, baseball’s lawyers thanked Ferrer for hosting the meeting, while stressing that Bosch’s assistance “was critical to MLB’s efforts to successfully sanction” the 14 players with lengthy suspensions, including Rodriguez.
MLB’s lead attorney, Charles Scheeler, with the Washington law firm, DLA Piper, highlighted Bosch’s “full cooperation” — including testifying against Rodriguez at an arbitration hearing in New York. He explained that, in exchange, the league agreed to inform authorities of his assistance.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Salomon Melgen trial starts

The AP had a nice story about opening statements:
A prominent Florida eye doctor tied to a U.S. senator's alleged corruption built much of his fortune by defrauding Medicare and instilling false hopes in some patients, a federal prosecutor told a jury Thursday.
Salomon Melgen stole millions from Medicare between 2008 and 2013 by falsely diagnosing patients and by performing unnecessary tests and treatments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Bell said during her opening statement for Melgen's fraud trial. Melgen and Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez face a separate trial in the fall in an alleged bribery case.
"This is a case about a doctor who lied to Medicare for money," Bell told the 12-member panel. He lied about his patients' diagnoses, she said. He lied about the tests he ran, she said. He lied about their prognoses, she said. All of it, she said, aimed at making Melgen rich, as many of these falsely diagnosed and treated patients could net him $72,000 each annually.
Medicare paid Melgen, 62, because it "relied on the integrity of the doctor," she said, but the government's investigation found that in many cases he "lied," using that word or a variation about two dozen times during her address.
Matthew Menchel, Melgin's attorney, countered during his opening that the government's case is built upon viewing Melgen's actions as criminal when they were actually aggressive medicine, legitimate differences of opinions between doctors and honest mistakes.***
"They turned a blind eye to evidence they didn't like," he said.
Many charges relate to patients Melgen said had age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of severe vision loss in people 65 and older. Most ARMD patients have the "dry" variety, which is caused by retinal cells breaking down and cannot be treated. Fewer have the "wet" variety, which involves bleeding beneath the retina. It can be treated by injections.
Menchel said other doctors who have looked at Melgen's diagnoses and treatments don't always agree with him, but understand what he was attempting. Other eye doctors sent Melgen their hardest, most desperate patients because they knew of his "cutting edge" treatments that sometimes worked, Menchel said. He said a totally blind person who regains even a flicker of peripheral vision would feel the treatment is worth it.
"Many of Dr. Melgen's patients loved him, not just liked him, because he helped them," Menchel said.
Menchel said Melgen never claimed to test or treat prosthetic eyes, saying those billings were mistakes made by his employees. When those mistakes were pointed out to him, Melgen reimbursed Medicare, Menchel said.
Meantime, it was the ABA White Collar Conference at the Fountainbleu this week.  About 1000 lawyers running around in suits while the beautiful people there were wondering who these aliens were invading their pool party.  Lots of recent former prosecutors, including Willy Ferrer and Matt Axelrod.  I previously covered Ferrer's move to H&K.  Here's the Axelrod story from the NY Times about his departure:

His boss was fired, and in effect, so was he. Now Matthew S. Axelrod is moving on.
The former top deputy to the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, who was dismissed by President Trump in January after refusing to enforce his executive order barring travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Mr. Axelrod is joining a major global law firm, Linklaters.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I demand a retraction!

Today's DBR (John Pacenti) covers the Jonathan Goodman imminent appointment as magistrate judge (filling Judge Garber's seat). We previously broke the story here. From the article: "U.S. District Chief Judge Federico Moreno wouldn't confirm blog reports last week that judges in the district have picked the Miami lawyer."

The article goes on to discuss how Kathy Williams and Willy Ferrer are still waiting for their appointments (Kathy to the bench and Willy to U.S. Attorney). Ferrer, at least, has been nominated (and will likely be confirmed this week or next). Kathy's file is apparently on the President's desk. I'm not sure what Obama is waiting for. It's really outrageous.

Pacenti says that Michael Caruso is "the odd-on favorite" to take over the Federal Defender's job when Kathy finally gets nominated: "David O. Markus, a former federal prosecutor, said Caruso is the natural choice. ... Markus, who runs the Southern District of Florida blog, ..."

Well, at least the blog got mentioned...

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Supreme Court during the Trump Address last night (UPDATED WITH WILLIE FERRER'S NEW JOB)

UPDATE -- As expected, Willie Ferrer will be going to Holland & Knight.

That's a pretty funny picture.

It probably sums up how the jury feels in the baseball trial before Judge Williams. It's been 4 weeks and it's still going... Looks like it might perk up today though when Chicago White Sox player Jose Abreu testifies. The government is calling him, but he's the defendant (Jose Estrada's) good friend. Should be interesting:

Abreu left Sox camp after Monday's game against the Cubs, and the Sox said only that he had to tend to personal matters in Miami. Sox manager Rick Renteria said Abreu was expected him back at some point Wednesday, but he said he would not plan to use him in Wednesday's game against the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch.

Abreu hit the first Sox homer of the spring Monday against the Cubs. He has gone 2-for-5 in two spring games.

"It's something that we were made aware of (ahead of time), and so he has to have this time," Renteria said. "Once he gets back, I'm sure he'll be wanting to get back in the swing of things."

Abreu has declined comment in recent months about the trial, but when Hernandez was indicted last February, he said they had a "respectful relationship." Abreu signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the Sox in 2013 when represented by Praver Shapiro sports agency, which worked with Hernandez and his company, Global Sports Management. But he switched agencies in 2015.

I wonder if Justice Kagan gave that face after this recent exchange:

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Is -- is the -- 924(c) is a statute, it's nothing to do with the guidelines, and it does say sentences have to be consecutive. So I go back to the point I opened with. You are, in effect, asking for a concurrent sentence.

MR. STOLER: Well, just -- just --

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Just adding one day.

MR. STOLER: Well, as Justice Kagan and I discussed, one day is an additional punishment. And one day --

JUSTICE KAGAN: She's Justice Sotomayor.

MR. STOLER: I'm sorry. Wrong end. (Laughter.)

JUSTICE KAGAN: She was the one helping you. (Laughter.)

MR. STOLER: I'm sorry.


JUSTICE KAGAN: I was the one who wasn't. (Laughter.)

MR. STOLER: I got my ends mixed up. I'm sorry.

Monday, March 01, 2021

"What's next for U.S. District Judge Roy Altman?"

 That's the title of this nice piece about Judge Altman in the DBR. Here's a cool shout-out to his grandfather:

And when Altman had one of his last conversations with his grandfather in Caracas, Venezuela, those American historical figures and what they stood for was the basis of a topic of discussion. At the time, his grandfather was dying from cancer. The two men were playing several games of chess on the balcony of his grandfather’s apartment overlooking tens of thousands of protestors.
That afternoon was a few weeks after Hugo Chávez, the president of the island nation in which corruption had become increasingly more widespread, padded the Venezuelan Supreme Court with loyalists in his party so he could seek unlimited terms in office.

Altman expressed to his grandfather his intentions to apply to law school as people took to the streets to protest the “gross violation of their constitutional charter.”
“One of the last things my grandfather said was: ‘This is what happens to a country when good people don’t serve it. When the worst people become public servants. If you’re going to be a lawyer, remember to be the right kind of lawyer that serves its country, so this never happens in America,’ ” Altman recounted. “ I carried those words with me. That story was my essay for my application to Yale Law School.”
And as Altman was nearing graduation from Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, he had no doubt in his mind that he wanted to return to Miami to start his legal career.
“This is the community that brought my family in when we came here from Venezuela,” Altman said. “We built a life here, we built friendships here, and I owed this community, I still do, for taking us in.”

Former U.S. Attorney Willy Ferrer said: “I would not be surprised to seeing Roy sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Ferrer said. “He’s got everything that it takes to be elevated in the U.S. court system.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rumor has it (UPDATED)

The nice thing about blogging is that we can post rumors as they come in (oh wait, the MSM does that too, see Golden Showers!).  We don't have anything like that, but we have it on a reliable source that the Trump administration has asked U.S. Attorney Willie Ferrer to resign. [UPDATE -- someone with knowledge of this has indicated that this rumor is false and that Willie has NOT been asked to resign.] If true, there should be a shakeup in that office in the near future.  There's also been quite a bit of speculation on what Mr. Ferrer will do next.  I'll leave that for him to say.

The shakeup locally and nationally will hopefully change the extreme position that the government frequently takes on bond.  For example, yesterday DOJ asked for the VW executive (who was arrested in Miami while on vacation with his family) to be held on pretrial detention.  From the DBR:
The defense team said they would like Schmidt to be held in a marshal-supervised hotel until a full bond hearing could be held in Michigan. They argued Schmidt had cooperated with the U.S. government by meeting with FBI agents of his own volition in London early in the investigation.
"He showed that he has absolutely nothing to hide from the government," Massey told the judge.
Massey also said Schmidt's arrest came as something of a surprise, because the government told Schmidt's attorneys as recently as Dec. 16 that he was only a "subject" and not a "target" of the investigation.
Singer insisted that Schmidt's meetings with U.S. officials were rife with deception. Schmidt traveled to the U.S. to meet with regulators in 2015 and deliberately hid the emissions test cheating from them, Singer said.
"It's actually, I think, a fact that weighs against him," he said.

Schmidt's local lawyer is one of the candidates for U.S. Attorney, John Couriel.  If John gets the gig, there may be some hope that he softens the office's very harsh position on bail.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Federalist Society Panel

By Guest Blogger, Dore Louis

Last night the Federalist Society hosted an event at the Banker's Club entitled "War Zone or Crime Scene: Walking the Tightrope of Justice Ten Years After September 11th."

The panel included every person who held the position of US Attorney since 9/11 - Guy Lewis, Marcos Jimenez, Alex Acosta, Jeff Sloman, Wilfredo Ferrer, and acting Federal Public Defender Michael Caruso, who proved a bit elusive to the camera. Neal Sonnet moderated.

The night included everything one might expect a Federalist Society event to have: a well-stocked bar and plenty of time to mingle; a book co-authored by John Yoo, gifted to the panel members; a regional CIA recruiter mingling with the guests (no joke); Marshals to protect the dignitaries; and, the obligatory "Osama"...oops..."I sometimes say "Obama"" joke by a panelist.

All in all, it looked as if it was going to be a 'hanging jury' for Michael. As anybody who knows Michael would expect, Michael shined.

The discussion was very interesting and quite non-partisan. Essentially, it was a walk trough the history of the US Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida, from 9/11 onwards. Michael did a great job adding color to the other side of the equation - bringing home the impact that ramped up prosecutions for offenses such as routine immigration violations or the effects prolonged isolated confinement have on people.

Guy Lewis led off. He talked about how he and other members of the office sat watching the terrorist attacks unfold on 9/11 and the eerie "radio silence" that prevailed from DOJ during the attacks. 16 of the 19 hijackers had either lived in the Southern District or otherwise had connections here, and they were simply not on the radar. The day after 9/11 GL convened a meeting of federal and local law enforcement and began to redirect the priority of the office from prosecution of offenses such as violent crime, cyber crime and money laundering to the prosecution and prevention of terrorism.

Marcos Jimenez took over after GL left to D.C., and one of his first impressions was how much the office changed from when he had been a AUSA. MJ really gave the audience a good feel for how much pressure a US Attorney feels while in the office, including the fear that his efforts would not be enough to prevent an attack from happening. MJ specifically mentioned port security and the nightmare scenario that something would happen on a cruse ship, and bunch of people would get killed and he would have "egg on his face."

Other than Michael (who I admit to being partisan to and who will always have my vote), Dean Alex Acosta was the most impressive speaker of the night. I did not realize what an intellectual the guy is. AA gave a terrific overview of military tribunals in the United States, going back to Nazi spies in the beginning of WWII. Whether you agree or disagree with the policies the government pursued post-9/11, it is very apparent that AA had thoroughly thought through the legal basis for the actions taken, and would be able to provide justification for each and every one. Frankly, if AA presents like this always, I fully expect to be calling him Judge in the future - if that is what he is after.

Jeff Sloman, who had been involved in terrorism prosecutions and investigations before 9/11, spoke to a concern that was raised by MJ. Radicalized people who are willing to die for a cause. Such concerns led to cases such as the Liberty City 7 case, that were targeted at neutralizing threats before they became capable of carrying out a terrorist act.

Willy Ferrer was obviously more constrained in what he could say because he is the current US Attorney - he was able to provide statistics and a broad overview of efforts that are ongoing to prevent terrorist acts. But what WF said that struck me most, was the mention of his law school class mate - Geoffrey Cloud, who went to work in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and was killed in the attacks.

I am certain that people like WF, who lost friends during 9/11 will not forget the destruction of that day. Whether you agree or disagree with the policies that our government pursues, folks like those who hold the office of US Attorney in the Southern District of Florida are tasked with keeping us all safe. I want them to remember that day, and I want that memory to drive them to do the best job they can.

Whether ultra left or ultra right, we all hate terrorism and want our government to keep us safe. That is the point that Michael was really able to drive home - yes, we need to be kept safe, but at the same time, we need to protect our Constitutional liberties and hold true to the values that have made us this great Nation.

How far can law enforcement can go to protect us? God forbid something terrible happens again - law enforcement did not go far enough. In the name of terrorism prevention, continue prosecuting immigrants who try to sneak into America with the sole intention of working hard and earning a living - too far.

It is a very difficult question to address, and the reason that we should all encourage participation in more events like the Federalist Society panel discussion. That organization and its leadership deserve a lot of credit for gathering the panelists together to attempt to confront the issues.

The threat is real, it is deadly, and we do not want the people protecting us to forget it.

- Bette and Peter Cloud, the parents of terrorist attack victim Geoffrey Cloud of Sudbury, speak about their son to people gathered for a 9/11 remembrance at the September 11th Memorial Garden at Heritage Park in Sudbury Sunday.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

S.D. Fla. celebrates LGBT achievement

From left to right: Judge Hunt, Judge Olson, and Judge Gayles
Last Wednesday, prosecutors, public defenders, private lawyers, and law clerks packed into the media room of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to listen to District Judge Darrin Gayles, Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt, and Bankruptcy Judge John Olson—gay men—talk about their experiences becoming and serving as federal judges. The panel discussion Road to the Bench, produced jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Public Defender’s Office, was, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in his opening remarks, “historic” (not, he said, to laughs, to show that the two offices could successfully work together). It was historic, he said, in light of this year’s legal and social progress. AUSA Karen Gilbert, who moderated, agreed, saying that she never thought she’d see in her lifetime three out federal judges discuss their experiences in a panel discussion.
Each judge began by discussing his journey to the bench. For Judge Gayles, a former AUSA, the first time he could be Darrin Gayles “without reservation” was when Governor Bush appointed him to serve as a state-court judge. It was “liberating to a great extent,” he said. “I can be who I am and it will not hold me back professionally.” As a judge, he said he has “felt responsible” to be out and open, and to serve as an example.
Judge Hunt’s experience was different because becoming a magistrate judge “wasn’t in the public,” Judge Hunt, a former AFPD, said. For Judge Hunt, who has two gay older brothers, being gay was the “most natural thing in the world.” The “bottom line,” he concluded about his process of becoming a judge, is that “no one cared and it didn’t make a difference. Here I am.”
Judge Olson didn’t start in public service. Judge Olson, who was once married to a woman and has two children, practiced law for many years as a bankruptcy lawyer. “Only after I was on the bench did I come to grips with my reality,” Judge Olson said. So he asked himself, “How do I live my life now in a way that’s faithful to myself and others?” To do that, Judge Olson came out “as noisily as I could”: by sending out a “frank” Christmas letter designed to take advantage of the bankruptcy bar’s “really effective gossip network,” he said, to laughs. “I outed myself as effectively as I could.”
The judges felt that they have largely been accepted and treated equally. No one has questioned Judge Hunt’s impartiality. Judge Olson said he “never felt anything but good things from his colleagues.” When, as a new district judge, Judge Gayles and his partner traveled to the Supreme Court to meet the justices, Justice Scalia said to his partner, “Nice to meet you. Welcome to the Supreme Court.”
The discussion—which lasted over an hour—was informative, inspirational, and, at times, really funny (Judge Olson and Gilbert joked about the pressure to have “fabulous” chambers; Gilbert said that Ferrer, because he’s a great dancer, is sometimes mistaken as being gay). But the judges recalled a difficult not-to-distant past, and said that many challenges lie ahead. Judge Hunt recalled when he was an AFPD having to explain to judges the difference between HIV and AIDS, and how that affected when defendants must be sentenced. It is “absolutely frightening” what is happening in other parts of the world, Judge Olson said, where being gay is “a dangerous thing.” Suicide is a serious problem among young gay people, he continued, and it may be worse for transgender youth. “We as a society have to do more to help,” he said.
But the judges were overwhelmingly positive about the future. “Our being in these positions makes it easier for those coming after us,” Judge Gayles said. Judge Hunt is “very optimistic. Now we can name names, whether it is an African American president or a gay judge. To actually be able to name names is important.” To Judge Olson, “being aggressively out helps solidify change. To make it a normal part of life.”
Special thanks to AUSA Robert Watson for suggesting that the Blog cover this fantastic event.
"Keep calm and support LGBT"

Monday, February 09, 2009

The usual suspects

Jay Weaver has an article this morning about Alex Acosta being asked to stay until the Spring, and about his possible replacement. The usual suspects are listed: David Buckner, Curt Miner, Jackie Becerra, Mark Schnapp, Willie Ferrer, and Daryl Trawick.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Justice O'Connor's reception

Justice O'Connor's reception last night was a success. Lots of judges, lawyers, and law clerks came by to see the legal legend who is in town this week as a visiting judge in the 11th Circuit court of appeals. Here she is with incoming U.S. Attorney Willy Ferrer, Jackie Becerra (Greenberg Traurig), and Bill Roppolo (president of the Federal Bar Association; Baker McKenzie). Willy wore his green tie a day too early! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Basically, every Friday the Federal Public Defender's Office will be closed."

That's FPD Michael Caruso describing one of the effects of the sequester on his office.  John Pacenti covers the issue in today's DBR:

Now, the sequester's mandatory budget cuts are about to hit home, slowing many facets of the federal justice system in South Florida.
Criminal sentencing hearings in federal court will be suspended Fridays — a favorite day for many judges. This is a result of unpaid furloughs hitting prosecutors, public defenders and federal marshals over the next six months.
Each Federal Public Defender employee in the Southern District of Florida must take 22 unpaid days between April 1 and the end of the government's fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. It translates into almost one day each week.
"The real cost is to the employees of the office," Caruso said. "We have single moms and we have parents who are saving for their kids' college, and we have people who need to pay their mortgage. Every employee is taking a 20 percent pay cut."
Sources told the Daily Business Review that each prosecutor in the Southern District will take 14 furlough days, but the office did not confirm that figure.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer's office referred all questions about budget cuts to the office of Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington.
The Justice Department released a letter from Holder to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Maryland, chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, outlining sequester budget cuts for prosecutors, civil attorneys, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
The Marshals Service is facing furloughs of up to 13 days; employees at the Bureau of Prisons will face on average 12 day.


 Picture of Federal Defender Michael Caruso by DBR J. Albert Diaz

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

U.S. Attorney list

The JNC has cut the list for US Attorney in Miami to: David M. Buckner, Wifredo Ferrer, Richard D. Gregorie, Ilona Maxine Holmes, Curtis B. Miner, Thomas J. Mulvihill, Lilly Ann Sanchez, Mark P. Schnapp, William Richard Scruggs, Jeffrey H. Sloman, James H. Swain, Daryl E. Trawick. They will be interviewed next month.

Judge list coming next.

UPDATE -- Here's John Pacenti's article.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

"I don't know what's happening at the U.S. Attorney's Office. This is the latest of a series of incidents that is affecting the credibility of this office ... Someone has got to look at this thing … There's a problem here that needs to be rectified in some way."

That was Judge Darrin Gayles in a strong rebuke of his former office.  We wrote about this latest in a string of prosecutorial misconduct cases on the blog here.  Paula McMahon covers the judge's decision, which was delivered orally (there is no written order) in this article:
A bizarre South Florida case involving an indicted fraud suspect who spied on his co-defendants — and their lawyers — after secretly making a plea deal led a federal judge to blast the U.S. Attorney's Office for letting it happen.
After two days of hearings on the allegations against the "mole," his lawyer and the prosecution, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles issued a blistering ruling in court in Miami late Tuesday. He barred the man from testifying against his co-defendants when they go to trial in May and strongly criticized federal prosecutors' "extraordinary" handling of the matter.
The defense asked the judge to punish the prosecution by throwing out the charges against Pisoni, Pradel and Ramirez. The judge said prosecutors previously had so much evidence that it was impossible for him to rule that Leon's actions affected the case enough to dismiss the charges against the other three.
But the judge expressed shock that the prosecution was still considering letting Leon testify, in some limited way, in trial against the other three men.
"If the government isn't willing to bar him, I will," Judge Gayles said, ruling Leon was prohibited from testifying.
Prosecutors told the judge they regretted not running the decision about how to handle Leon up the chain of command at their office but said they thought what they did was allowed by law. The judge said they should have, at a minimum, consulted their bosses and sought the judge's explicit approval.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer declined to comment because the case is pending. Officials also declined to say if any disciplinary investigation is underway or anticipated.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

So you want to be a Magistrate Judge?

 There’s a new opening as the Judge Otazo-Reyes on November 30.

Applications are due May 3.  

And here’s the committee who will recommend 5 names to the district bench:


Ryan Ulloa, Esq.


Sashi Bach, Esq.

Matthew Dates, Esq.

Wifredo Ferrer, Esq.

Hector Dopico, AFPD

Jasmin Grant (non-attorney)

Lindsey Lazopoulos Friedman, AUSA Francesca Nabors (non-attorney) Jonathan Osborne, Esq.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

How will a Trump presidency affect the SDFLA and the Supreme Court

  • Trump will select between 2-4 Justices.  William Pryor stands a good chance of being Justice Pryor. Federico Moreno also made Trump's short list.
  • Who will be Attorney General?  Rudy Guliani? (I think it's less likely it will be Christie after the Bridgegate convictions, but who knows).
  • If HRC had won, there was talk that U.S. Attorney Ferrer would stay on (or that Joan Silverstein would become U.S. Attorney), but that won't happen now. Any thoughts on who Trump names?  Jon Sale? (he would be great).
  • There are going to be a bunch of open district court seats in the District.  Who gets those slots?

Monday, January 08, 2018

AG Sessions names Ben Greenberg U.S. Attorney (interim)

AG Sessions has named Ben Greenberg interim U.S. Attorney. Greenberg has been serving as acting U.S. Attorney since Willie Ferrer stepped down. The Vacancies Reform Act allowed Greenberg to serve as Acting USA for a period of 300 days, which ended on December 28. Once that period ended, the AG had the statutory authority to name an interim USA for a period of 120 days (although it’s "interim", unlike the term "acting", that word is not part of the title). After this 120 day period, if there is no nominee, the AG will ask the court to appoint someone, which is usually the same person he appointed as interim USA but doesn't have to be. Greenberg is also up for district judge and if he gets it, there will be a different acting U.S. Attorney.

Here’s the press release from December 28:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Benjamin G. Greenberg as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida on December 29, 2017. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Greenberg served as the Acting United States Attorney beginning in March 2017 and has been the First Assistant United States Attorney since 2010. He previously held a number of leadership positions in the Office, including serving as the first Chief of the newly created Special Prosecutions Section, where he oversaw the Office’s efforts to combat violent crime, child exploitation, and human trafficking. In 2009, Mr. Greenberg became Chief of the Narcotics Section. In that capacity, he supervised the prosecution of international and domestic narcotics and money laundering cases, as well as violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

Mr. Greenberg joined the United States Attorney’s Office in 2000 and has handled a wide variety of complex, challenging, and high-profile white collar, violent crime, narcotics, and organized crime cases. He was the lead prosecutor in a series of significant cases against various Israeli organized crime figures extradited to the United States. In recognition of these efforts, Mr. Greenberg received a national award from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Mr. Greenberg was also part of the trial team that prosecuted the President and Chief Executive Officer of a well-known financial institution for securities and bank fraud arising from a complex international accounting fraud scheme. The Daily Business Review recognized Mr. Greenberg as one of the community’s most effective lawyers for his work on this case.

Mr. Greenberg served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jon Phipps McCalla in Memphis, Tennessee after graduating from the Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to law school, Mr. Greenberg received a fellowship from the Rotary Foundation to study in Jerusalem, Israel after graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania.