Category Archives: Law: Everything Else

Apparently I Didn’t Vote Often Enough

While outcomes were good very locally–Donna Shalala is going to Congress, Javier Enrique Fernandez beat Javier Enriquez for the state House, state outcomes were bad, but with redeeming features.

Gillum lost a squeaker.  Nelson is a hair behind —  21,899 votes or .26 percent of 8.2 million ballots cast — with recount in the offing. Lots of provisional ballots to be counted, could maybe make the difference.  All the downballot state Dems lost except maybe the Agriculture Commissioner, where the margin is tiny.

Looks like another roller coaster post-election period for Florida.

All the state Constitutional amendments, good and bad, passed except for Amendment 1.  The best news is that 1.2 million Floridians got re-enfranchised by Amendment 4 — although whether implementation will be smooth remains to be seen.

The worst news is that Amendment 5 passed, requiring a supermajority to raise taxes and to close loopholes.  This may make Florida ungovernable, worse even then the fiscal straitjacket that hamstrung California after Proposition 13 and other anti-tax measures.

Equally bad is that DeSantis’s first act will be to name three Justices to the state Supreme Court, doubtlessly cementing a conservative-to-reactionary majority for a generation.

Florida really is a sanity-stressing jurisdiction sometimes.

Posted in 2018 Election, Law: Everything Else, Miami | Leave a comment

Miami Law Explainer on 3D Guns

This week’s edition of the Miami Law Explainer features yours truly being interviewed on 3D guns. You can get the Apple-flavored Miami Law Explainer, or the Android-flavored Miami Law Explainer.

I’m told that either way it runs about eight minutes, which isn’t even long enough for a trip to the store.

The Miami Law Explainer is a new series in which different members of the MiamiLaw faculty are interviewed on current legal topics.  Check it out.

Posted in Cryptography, Law: Everything Else, The Media | 1 Comment

Boy’s Club?

Over at ACS Blog, my brother notes that of the 29 people Trump has nominated for U.S. attorney positions, 28 are men.  And 25 are white.

Makes for a nice collage:

Posted in Dan Froomkin, Law: Everything Else, Trump | Leave a comment

Mayor Mich Landrieu Gives the Speech of His Life

I do not often recommend long serious videos; I tend to short and/or funny.

But please consider taking 23 minutes of your life to listen to this speech by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of four confederate statues.

Spotted via Tom Sullivan at digby’s blog, who links to a transcript at The Pulse and makes a link to the US Supreme Court’s recent 5-3 decision Cooper v. Harris that struck down two racially gerrymandered districts in North Carolina.

Contrast this speech to the despicable bills passed in the last few days by the Louisiana House to protect confederate monuments statewide and the bill passed by both houses of the Alabama legislature to prohibit “the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument” that have stood for more than 40 years on public property. The bill also prohibits renaming schools named after people.

I confess that I don’t know much about Mich Landrieu, but if this is typical of the man, I hope he has a long future in politics.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Politics: US | 1 Comment

The Comey Firing (Updated)

I have to agree with almost everything in the letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Comey botched the Clinton email disclosures and deserves to be fired for it.

Of course, this being Trump’s World, and given the suggestive timing of the firing, one cannot help but suspect an ulterior motive.  Unwillingness to share raw investigatory data relating to counter-intelligence regarding Russia?

Update: Of course the whole world has known about the issues about Comey’s treatment of Clinton. It is hard to believe it took over 100 days to decide to fire him over that. CNN says Trump decided Comey had to go a week ago and told Justice to come up with a reason. What was happening a week ago? Why, this. Sounds like enough to set Trump off, doesn’t it?

And, of course, it’s the coverup (or appearance of one) that gets you more than the crime. People in DC are already seeing a rerun of the Saturday Night Massacre, and calling for a special prosecutor. The law is different these days, so special prosecutors have less formal independence than they did in the post-Nixon reforms. Indeed, their independence is just about what it was in the Nixon years: not enough to prevent their firing, but enough to cause a crisis if it happens.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Trump | 5 Comments

Miami-Dade County Court Election Guide – Aug 30, 2016

Downballot recommendations may be the most important thing I do on this blog these days. This post is about the four County Court races. Please see my previous post, 11th Circuit Court Judicial Election Guide – Aug 30, 2016 Ballot, for full disclosure on how I came to these decisions, and for my recommendations in the five Circuit Court elections.

Summary of County Court recommendations

Group 5: Milena Abreu (line 94)
Group 7: Ed Newman (line 97)
Group 15: Linda Luce (line 99)
Group 35: Wendell Graham (line 100)

County Court Judges

Group 5

Judge Fred Seraphin (FSU Law) is being challenged by Milena Abreu (Loyola Law School, New Orleans). Judge Seraphim is notable for being the first Haitian-American Judge in Miami-Dade County; he’s also notable for being the judge who wouldn’t let an assistant public defender take a 15 minute break every few hours during a trial to pump breast milk. I find that pretty incredible, although in an interview with the Daily Business Review (now behind a paywall), Judge Seraphin claimed that this was simply a “miscommunication.” Ms. Abreu is a fairly credible opponent, with 15 years experience split between the PD’s office and private practice.

Despite several stories of being inconsiderate about lawyers’ lives or illnesses, Judge Seraphim’s bar poll numbers were good (42% exceptionally qualified, 47% qualified). Ms. Abreau only managed 23% and 54%, which isn’t bad either, but isn’t as good.

Judge Seraphim has a striking personal story, which he features on his web page; being the victim of injustice, he says, has helped him understand justice. It’s a powerful pitch.

A spokesman for the Caribbean Bar Association told the Daily Business Review on Dec 4, 2015 that,

“One of our purposes is to have more Caribbean judges, so it is a concern,” said Devona Reynolds-Perez, president-elect of the Caribbean Bar Association. “It impacts the current diversity on the bench, which is in a sorry state. So we’re sorry to hear that he drew opposition. His appointment to the bench was a historic landmark, so it would be very sad and disappointing to see him lose that seat.

Yet could it be that he deserves to lose? The Herald, unsurprisingly, endorsed the incumbent. I’m not so sure – if a judge who wasn’t an historic first had behaved like that, would we retain him? What does it mean to ‘understand justice’ if you are cruel or unfeeling to advocates in the courtroom?

I can see why a reasonable person would go with experience and a compelling life story, and vote to keep Judge Seraphim – and it is a close call – but I think I’m voting Milena Abreu (line 94) even though it will contribute to the narrative that ‘Hispanic names,’ and especially women with Hispanic names, win judicial elections in Miami-Dade.

Group 7

Incumbent endorsed Judge Newman when he was last up for election in 2010.

I’ve seen Judge Newman in action, and I liked what I saw. I would not call him a brilliant Judge, just a careful and fair one who ran a good courtroom. I’m voting to retain him. (Line 97.)

Group 15

This is an open seat.

The candidates are Ruben Alcoba [Warning: LOUD video will start automatically] (J.D. U.M, LL.M in Tax, Thomas Jefferson School of Law) and Linda Luce (J.D. U. Puerto Rico).

Mr. Alcoba is a sole practitioner who focuses mainly on patent, trademark and immigration law. Ms. Luce has worked for Department of Children & Families juvenile delinquency unit and is now in private practice doing civil and family law. She has experience as a mediator.

The response rate on the bar poll for Mr. Alcoa was so low as to make his otherwise low score of 9% exceptionally qualified and 28% qualified almost meaningless. Ms. Luce got more respectable scores (22% and 55%) but that also was on a quite small response rate.

I confess to being less informed about this race than I’d like, but on paper Ms. Luce (line 99) has more, and more relevant, experience. That the Herald said the same thing in its endorsement of Ms. Luce makes me nervous, but there it is.

Group 35

Judge Wendell Graham (J.D. UM) is being challenged, by Antonio Jimenez (J.D. Stetson).

Mr. Jimenez is a Navy veteran; his bio states that he has a couple of Masters degrees (Master of Forensic Science Degree from National University which I never heard of before, and a Master of Criminal Justice from Boston University–-I’ve heard of that).

The 35-year-old challenger only has about ten years practice experience, two and a half the Herald says as an ASA, and eight in private practice. Even though his web site boasts that “his unique background has given Mr. Jimenez the unique opportunity to understand every legal matter” (yes, every legal matter!), I don’t see why I’d prefer him to an experienced judge with good ratings from the bar (39% exceptionally qualified, 49% qualified). If the Herald is right about the two and a half years as an ASA I’d also like to know why he didn’t finish out the three years which is the ordinary commitment for an ASA. Did he jump or was he pushed? Neither is a great answer.

In any event, the case for re-electing Judge Wendell Graham (line 100) seems overwhelming.

Posted in 2016 Election, Law: Everything Else, Miami | 3 Comments