Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guess who's going to help decide who becomes the next City of Miami Police Chief?

I just about fell out of my seat when I heard who's going to help pick the next City of Miami Police Chief, from the Herald article...

Ten candidates have made the list of finalists to become Miami’s next police chief, following the spectacular firing two months ago of disgraced former Chief Miguel Exposito.
Among the contenders: a retired high-level state police special agent, several prominent former Miami police command staffers and the man who replaced Exposito in an interim role.
A selection committee headed by Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus will begin interviewing finalists Wednesday, and will continue next week.
So far so good, I have the utmost respect for the Miami Dade County Police Director, James Loftus, he's alright by me.
The finalists are: Adam L. Burden, Thomas W. Cannon, Frank G. Fernandez, Michael J. Gugliotti, Rafael P. Hernandez Jr., Roberto Hylton, Manuel Orosa, Amos Rojas Jr., Gerald Speziale Jr., and Louis A. Vega.
Earlier this month, the selection committee picked the finalists from 71 applicants. Nearly 50 had already submitted their applications before Exposito was fired; his contract had been set to expire at the end of the year.
A sharply divided city commission voted to fire Exposito on Sept. 12. City Manager Johnny Martinez had suspended the ex-chief six days earlier for insubordination, saying Exposito overstepped his authority by moving forward with administrative demotions the manager had explicitly placed on hold.
We all remember that circus don't we?
The list of finalists features several candidates that are well known in South Florida law enforcement circles.
Orosa, considered a candidate before Exposito was named chief, has headed the department in an interim position. Burden and Cannon, former Miami assistant police chiefs, retired after Exposito demoted them and a slew of others in December 2009.
Fernandez is the former deputy chief under Chief John Timoney. Vega, a former assistant chief under Timoney, also served as the police director in Camden, N.J.
Rojas recently retired as FDLE’s regional special agent in charge after eight years in the post. Hernandez, a former Miami-Dade police officer, served as chiefs of police in Sweetwater and most recently, North Miami Beach.
Gugliotti is the longtime chief of police in Waterbury, Conn. Hylton, the former police chief in Prince George’s County, Md., is listed as law enforcement advisor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Speziale is the former sheriff of Passaic County, N.J., who later became the deputy superintendent of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority.
Blah, blah, blah...
The selection committee is made of Loftus and Addy Villanueva, now the special agent in charge of FDLE’s South Florida office; Hugo Barrera, the special agent of Miami’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives...
Sounds good up until here...
...and Maurice Kemp, Miami’s fire chief.

Chief Mo Kemp
Maurice Kemp, the City of Miami Fire Chief is going to help pick out the next Police Chief?  This would be the same Maurice Kemp who sent his former assistant Fire Chief Veldora Arthur home collecting over $100k while under federal indictment!  The same Veldora Arthur who was rumored to receive preferential treatment throughout her career because of her alleged personal relationship with Chief Kemp?  This guy should be looking for a job himself rather than sitting on a committee that's going to pick out the next police chief!
Committee members will conduct the interviews with five people appointed by city commissioners to ask questions an provide input. But only the four committee members will pick the top five finalists.
From those choices, Manager Martinez will select the next chief.
Another bullshit dog and pony show.  There is no doubt in my mind that Mayor Regalado and his cronies have already picked interim police chief Orosa to be the next police chief, what we're seeing here with this selection committee is a sham proceeding to make it look like Orosa was chosen through a fair and equitable selection process.  Hopefully I'm wrong but somehow I doubt it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Former City of Miami Assistant Fire Chief Veldora Arthur was paid $120,000 while under federal indictment waiting for trial!

Veldora Arthur
That's right!  While federally indicted mortgage fraudster Veldora Arthur was sitting home out on bail awaiting trial, she picked another $120k from the City of Miami for doing absolutely NOTHING!  From Melissa Sanchez's excellent article from El Nuevo Herald via Google translate...

The City of Miami paid more than $ 120,000 to the Deputy Chief of the Fire Department, Veldora Arthur, waiting at home to be prosecuted for mortgage fraud, even though a rule municipal states that non-union employees should be suspended without pay or transferred when they are accused of a crime.
From February to September, Arthur had to stay home from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. I could only go out for a lunch break and had to call this office twice a day.
Sorry to hear that Melissa, I don't even get to go out for lunch...
Roberto Suarez, president of the firefighters union, said he did not understand why the City does not reassigned to Arthur while awaiting trial. Arthur was convicted of three counts of fraud on September 30. He was eventually dismissed on October 5.

"Why pay you to do anything when you can put to work"? Suarez said. "Some days? Maybe. Do some weeks? From time to time. But what months? I know of another similar case. "
Not sure what he's saying, I guess Google Translate isn't perfect...

On 3 February, the Federal Attorney's Office charged Arthur and four other people to participate in a mortgage fraud of $ 11 million. Arthur was arrested on February 11 and released the same day on bail of $ 120,000.

The rule states since 1998 municipal non-union employees accused of a crime shall be suspended without pay. Employees cleared of charges should be reinstated to their jobs with back pay. If desired, the administrator can assign these employees to other tasks while waiting for their day in court.

Unionized employees are not subject to the rule, due to different agreements between management and unions. For example, according to a 1989 agreement, firefighters may receive paid leave in such cases. However, Suarez said that in most cases these unionized firefighters are reassigned to other duties.

Arthur ceased to be syndicated by assuming a high administrative position for more than a decade. At the time of his arrest was deputy chief in charge of payroll and quality control.

According to Maurice Kemp, head of the Miami Fire Department, Arthur had been able to recover its previous position of lieutenant, which is covered by the union. If they had, would have decreased his salary of more than $ 184.000. In addition, a pension of $ 167,000.

According to Chief Mo Kemp?  Wasn't that Veldora's boyfriend?
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, who was administrator and former Miami fire chief, said Arthur could top having lowered to its previous non-administrative position, so that was protected by the union.

After the arrest of Arthur, his superiors took no action. Kemp said he had been evaluating the charges since 12 February.

"Because Arthur had been out of the office on leave, using their personal days for all days but one February, there was an urgency to reach a decision on their status," Kemp wrote in a recent e-mail to El Nuevo Herald.

On 21 February, blogger The Straw Buyer, was the first to write about the case. The next day, the local press started asking questions to Kemp. At that time, Kemp wrote a memo to Arthur allowing you to continue in office even restricting their access to funds these days departamento.En Kemp met with city administrators to determine what to do with Arthur. Both the then manager, Tony Crapp Jr., as the then chief financial officer, Larry Spring, and others involved in the decision said they preferred not to comment on the case. Johnny Martinez, the current administrator, as the Department of the City Attorney, referred questions to Kemp.

On March 2, Spring Kemp sent an email in which Arthur ruled that separate out their duties with pay.

"This is based on our previous conversations and a review of the rule," wrote Spring.

According to Giménez, administrators can exercise their discretion in applying the rule.

"Right, wrong, indifferent, they came to a decision," he said. "Did you follow politics? Yes, because they have that discretion. "

Beverly Pruitt, Director of Employee Relations of the City, said he did not have records of employees who have been placed under license with or without pay because of an indictment.

Suarez said many firefighters believe that Arthur was treated favoritism. He said the media attention on the case determined that perhaps sent home.
 LOL!  Would that be the media attention that we caused?!

"There are many positions to which they could be assigned as being in charge of the 911 call center," said Suarez. "Apparently, someone in the administration of the City does not want to deal with the drama of her in the office."

Kemp said he was aware of the growing media interest, but felt that did not influence the decision.

That's not what I heard MO!
Arthur also took 125 hours of accrued vacation leave in excess of $ 11,000. During the trial, used three-week vacation. Mayor Tomas Regalado said he wants the Office of the City Attorney investigate the issue to see if it can recover all the money paid to Arthur.

"Having been found guilty, she should return the money," said Regalado.

Arthur remains jailed in Miami while awaiting sentencing on December 16. He has hired a new lawyer.
What?  Here we go again with the idiots from the City talking about clawing back hundreds of thousands of dollars only after the money had already been dolled out!  What a bunch of shit.  I don't know what's worse, the Mayor's bullshit reaction about Veldora picking up $120k for sitting on her fat ass at home or the fact that once again to get real news we have to turn to the Spanish language El Nuevo Herald rather than the English language Miami Herald.  FUUUUUUUK! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Conflict anyone?

By now all of you here in the City of Miami must be familiar with the ongoing feud between long time Coconut Grove resident Reid Welch and City of Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff which culminated in Mr. Sarnoff violently attacking Mr. Welch a few weeks back.  Our friend Al Crespo covered the story, here is the Police incident report where Mr. Welch is clearly identified as the "victim"...

That's all well and good until Mr. Sarnoff's wife decided to serve Mr. Welch with a restraining order...

Ok, whatever.  Now this is where things get interesting, on Monday Mr. Welch had to appear before a Miami circuit court judge regarding this restraining order where the judge continued the case till January 6, 2012.  Mrs. Sarnoff was represented by an attorney named Jay Solowsky while Mr. Sarnoff was represented by a City of Miami attorney named George Wysong, this is where things get a little interesting.  Let's take a look at Mr. Wysong's bio from the City of Miami website...
Mr. Wysong serves as the Police Legal Advisor for the City of Miami Police Department. In that capacity, he handles matters which affect the Police Department, and provides counsel and advice to the Chief of Police and his staff, litigates contraband forfeiture cases, prepares legal bulletins for dissemination to the sworn police officers, provides advices and counsel to the City's Emergency Operations Center in times of emergency. In addition to those duties, Mr. Wysong also reviews contracts and agreements relating to the Police Department and drafts legislation relating to quality of life issues.
So Mr Wysong is the City of Miami police liason, from his bio says his job is to "handle matters which affect the Police Department."  If that's the case, why was he representing Sarnoff at this hearing?  In fact, based on his bio, shouldn't he have been attending this hearing on behalf of the City of Miami police department who should have arrested Mr. Sarnoff for his assault on Mr. Welch?  Doesn't this constitute a serious conflict of interest for Mr. Wysong?

Now, this isn't the first time that I've found Mr. Wysong wearing two hats, there are several other instances where Mr. Wysong has found himself in places where he shouldn't be where there is a clear and undeniable conflict, we're going to have to wait a couple of weeks before we can reveal those stories.  Regardless, if this was any other city, I'd be shocked and appalled at Mr. Wysong's behavior but it's Miami so it's par for the course!

On another note, for those of you that have been following my story regarding the "body wire at attorney's office", things are about to get a lot more interesting.  It seems as if the attorney whose privileged conversations were recorded at the behest of assistant state attorney Bill Kostrzewski isn't too happy about those recordings being made...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meanwhile back at the City of Miami...

Forgive me folks, I've been sick as a dog and haven't been able to attend to the blog over the last couple of days.  While we're doing our best to recuperate, take a look at our friend Al Crespo's site where he's been discussing how the City of Miami somehow managed to miss it's payroll a few weeks back.  Considering the overwhelming majority of employees over at the city aren't fat cats making six figure plus salaries, most of the folks over there are hardworking people living paycheck to paycheck on menial salaries, one can only imagine how devastating it must have been for them to have missed a paycheck.  

Considering how many employees must have been ticked off about not getting paid and the financial turmoil the city is in, does City Manager Johnny Martinez's choice of vehicles to drive to work give you any kind of indication about his mindset?  Take a look at Mr. Martinez's ride...

Nice.  While the city is in financial turmoil and the budget is being balanced on the backs of the city's employees, the City Manager rolls into work in a $100k+ BMW.  Martinez's choice of vehicles only tells me one thing...

Who cares whether or not Martinez has a $100k+ car or not, but why take it to work when you're asking the city employees to make tremendous sacrifices in order to balance your budget?  Even worse after you've managed to screw up and missed paying them?  Couldn't he have had someone give him a ride or take a city vehicle over to City Hall?  I've always been told it's all about appearances, especially when you employee people who make less than you.  Why in the world would you want to flaunt a vehicle like this that's worth three or four times more than the majority of your employees make in a year?  Like I said, it just seems like the people in the upper echelons of the City of Miami just don't give a fuck.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Like it never happened...

Stephen Orchard
You all remember attorney Stephen Orchard, don't you?  Mr. Orchard was one of the two attorneys that were federally indicted as part of the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud case who on the eve of trial was given a sweetheart deal by the prosecutors and sent on his way.  Let's not forget that Mr. Orchard was accused of committing among other things conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice for his part in the over sixteen million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that the feds labeled "Operation Copout".  I'm not sure how, but somehow this evening I stumbled upon Mr. Orchard's law firm's website and couldn't help but wonder what's happened since the government cut him loose from the criminal case.  From the looks of the website, Mr. Orchard seems to be doing just fine, but I wonder, what happened to the investigation into Mr. Orchard's involvement with the alleged frauds involved with the Plantation cops case?  A quick glance at Mr. Orchard's bar page reveals no disciplinary actions...

 That's all well and good for Mr. Orchard but what about his former boss and fellow defendant attorney Steven Stoll who was also federally indicted for his role in "Operation Copout", we know the government chose not to retry him after his first trial ended with a mistrial, but what about the Florida bar?  From Mr. Stoll's bar page...

David Rodriguez
You guessed it, NADA.  What's the big deal you ask?  No big deal I guess, I just wonder, why is there such great disparity in how the organization that regulates and disciplines attorneys handles different cases?  Those of you who've been following our blog for a while surely remember attorney David Rodriguez who was the target in one the Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task force's first cases.  The cops had Mr. Rodriguez dead to rights, after all he was negotiating the crooked deals with an undercover cop who just happened to be one of the members of the Task Force!  Surely by now nearly four years after his arrest and subsequent plea, Mr. Rodriguez must have been disciplined by the Florida bar, right?  Once again, from his Florida Bar page...

Anyone surprised?  Four years after his arrest, four years after a plea and the subsequent sealing of his criminal record, not a single action from the bar.  

Once again, what's the big deal about any of this?  No big deal I guess unless you've picked up on the fact that whether it's the Florida Bar or the state attorneys office, their choice of prosecutions seems to be highly selective.  While some people are put through the ringer, others aren't even investigated.  Maybe I'm nuts, but I'm of the belief that if an attorney pleads out to a crime, they should receive some sort of discipline from the appropriate professional governing bodies.  Let's see if they still sit back and do nothing after we get done filing our complaints.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You.


To all the men and women of our armed forces who put their lives on the line and fight for the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.  Thank You.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prosecutor won't admit the screwed up in front of the Supreme Court!


I'm out on the road today gathering some docs for a future post, for now take a look at this fantastic exchange from the SCOTUSBlog between New Orleans prosecutor Donna R. Andrieu and our nations Supreme Court regarding turning over Brady material...
There may be many ways for a lawyer to realize that an argument before the Supreme Court is falling flat, but none can top this: a Justice asking if the counsel had ever considered simply forfeiting the case. That is what happened on Tuesday to Donna R. Andrieu, an assistant district attorney in New Orleans, as her argument lay all about her, in shambles. It is a heavy burden for a lawyer from that oft-criticized office to mount any defense of its prosecutions, but Andrieu repeatedly found ways to botch virtually every point as she argued Smith v. Cain (docket 10-8145).
The case is the second before the Court in the past year to raise deep questions about the way the Orleans Parish office has prosecuted criminal cases, over a good many years..  And, near the end of Andrieu’s troubled argument, she was reminded of that history by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who seemed to be wondering whether the D.A.’s staff there would ever learn.  In both this Term’s case and last, the issue was whether the prosecutors had failed in their constitutional duty, under Brady v. Maryland (1963), to turn over evidence that could help lawyers defend their clients.

The aggressive exchanges were getting to Andrieu, and the phrase “I’m sorry” began appearing regularly in her answers, as she suggested, now and then, that she had misunderstood the questions. As her argument was winding down, Justice Elena Kagan leaned forward and asked: “Ms. Andrieu, did your office ever consider just confessing error in this case?” Stunned, the prosecutor said: “I’m sorry?”

Imagine that?  A prosecutor admitting to making a mistake??

Kagan repeated: “Did your office ever consider just confessing error in this case? You’ve had a bunch of time to think about it. Do you know? We took cert a while ago. I’m just wondering whether you’ve ever considered confessing error.” The prosecutor answered: “Your Honor, we believe that we have an argument that these statements of Larry Boatner are not material.”

It only got worse for Andrieu. Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that the prosecutor “stop fighting as to whether it should be turned over. Of course it should have been turned over…Why don’t you give that up?” The prosecutor again tried, astonishingly, to make one more effort to rehabilitate witness Boatner’s credibility.

At that point, it seemed that nothing more could embarrass the New Orleans prosecutor. But Justice Sotomayor then brought up the “serious accusations against the practices of your office, not yours in particular but prior ones. It is disconcerting to me that when I asked you the question directly should this material have been turned over, you gave an absolute no.” Andrieu weakly suggested that she had misunderstood the question.


But Sotomayor pressed on: “It is somewhat disconcerting that your office is still answering equivocally on a basic obligation as one that requires you to have turned these materials over, whether it caused harm or not.” Andrieu still did not seem to understand. She said that “today we turn all of this over….It should have been turned over. I guess what I was addressing or attempting to address was the materiality prong of Brady.”
Unreal.  Why is this concept of turning over exculpatory materials to the defense so hard for prosecutors to understand?  They hold all the cards any way, why can't they simply abide by this simple requirement?  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The details behind the Guaracino plea change...

So what happened?  What exactly caused former Plantation cop Joe Guaracino, the man the government alleges was the mastermind of a sixteen million dollar mortgage fraud scheme to suddenly change his plea after a long arduous legal battle that he was winning up till now?  As we discussed on Monday, the prosecutors managed to convince the court to not only discontinue picking up Joe's legal bills but to also make him responsible for all the money the government had shelled out for his defense since he declared that he could no longer afford to pay his own way earlier this year.  The prosecutors did such an effective job of convincing the court that Guaracino had duped the court into paying his legal bills that the judge even went so far as to say that the...
“...defendant mocked this Court and offended the benevolent purposes of the Criminal Justice Act"
Fine, I wasn't there and can't comment accurately on what the defendant did or didn't do to the court. 

So now Guaracino has this first hurdle to overcome, how can he proceed to the second trial when he's got no money to pay his attorney or the other costs associated with going to trial, expert witnesses, exhibits, etc.  Big problem.  Now, let's move on to the second hurdle he's got to overcome.  As if losing his ability to defend himself wasn't a big enough problem, now comes the AUSA with this...

Joe Guaracino Superseding Information

That's right, MORE CHARGES!  If my information is correct, the prosecutors were ready to file even more charges if Guaracino didn't plead out!  That brings us to the change and plea which ultimately ended up with this factual proffer which some of our readers claim is Mr. Guaracino coming clean and admitting to what the government alleges he had done...

Joe Guaracino Factual Proffer

So there you have it.  Does any of this seem fair to you?  I'm no attorney but somehow the way this went down doesn't seem exactly fair.  Perhaps Mr. Guaracino really did everything the government said he did, maybe he really was the mastermind of this massive fraud scheme, if that is the case, why not prove it in court rather than go about it the way they did?  On another note, consider how much money was spent in order to bring about the convictions of three out of the ten people that were originally charged in this case (as well as those who cut deals and cooperated before the trial), add to that the millions of dollars that must have been spent during the investigation that lasted nearly five years to build this case.  Does that seem like the best use of the taxpayers money?  A few years ago we put together a list of random frauds that we found while driving around Coconut Grove, we wrote about them in detail and retrieved all the documents to prove what had gone on ( you can find those stories here, here and here).  These weren't convoluted tales of homes being purchased, renovated then rented or resold, these were cases where homes were purchased from elderly people and resold the same day using bogus appraisals and crooked title companies for two, three or even four times what they had originally been purchased for, all in the same day without the bad guys ever laying out a penny.  Even better, no one ever made a single payment on these homes yet here we are nearly three years later, three years after I had originally written about the homes, three years after I had forwarded the cases to law enforcement and even taken the cases and handed them to a member of the Miami Dade County mortgage fraud task force personally.  The result?  Zip, NADA, NOTHING.  All I ever heard was that there was no time or resources to look into these cases even though I had literally done everything for them.  

I have to wonder, what would have happened if a fraction of the time and money spent on the Plantation cops mortgage fraud case could have been allocated to investigating what I wrote about?  I guarantee you that these homes were just the tip of the iceberg, I have information that suggests the people that were behind those frauds were part of a much larger group that made the Plantation cops case look like chump change, but again, no money and no resources to adequately investigate.  Or maybe no interest because there were no cops involved in the frauds?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Major breaking news on the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial.


It looks like the mess that we've come to know as the Plantation Mortgage fraud case aka "Operation Copout" has come to an end.  I'm told by a reliable source that this morning at 8:30 am the lone remaining defendant, Joseph Guaracino, is going to change his plea and agree to a 43 month sentence.  Considering that the government took away any hope he had of paying for his defense for the retrial and the rumor of new charges being levied against him, cutting a deal seems like the most likely outcome.  I'll update as soon as I get confirmation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another bizarre twist in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud saga...

Just when you think things have quieted down after the second Plantation cops trial ended with a mistrial, we get another bizarre twist in the story.  One can only imagine how much  money the defendants must have spent throughout the course of the investigation and subsequent trials that resulted from the nearly five year long "Operation Copout" investigation that ended with the two trials that took up the better part of this past year.  As we all know, the first trial ended with four out of the six defendants getting acquitted and the second trial ended with a mistrial.  Midway through the second trial, defendant Joe Guaracino, the man that the government alleges was the mastermind behind the $16 million dollars or so worth of real estate transactions that are the subject of the governments case told the court that he had run out of money and could no longer afford to pay his legal expenses.  That seems reasonable enough, after all, Mr. Guaracino was heavily invested in the real estate market that has since turned sour, by his own admission, everything he owns is "underwater" plus how could one be expected to earn a reasonable living let alone pay a fortune in legal bills while under indictment and out on bail?  

No worries, according to our nation's Criminal Justice Act (18 U.S.C. § 3006) the government has people charged with a crime who can't afford adequate legal representation covered...
Each United States district court, with the approval of the judicial council of the circuit, shall place in operation throughout the district a plan for furnishing representation for any person financially unable to obtain adequate representation in accordance with this section. Representation under each plan shall include counsel and investigative, expert, and other services necessary for adequate representation.
Cool.  Midway through the second trial the court concluded through a special hearing that Mr. Guaracino no longer had the funds to pay for his legal bills and entered an order allowing the government to pay his lawyers, expert witnesses, etc.  No worries.  That was all about to change after the second case ended in a mistrial.  I got the feeling that after the government announced that it wasn't going to retry the other two remaining defendants from the second trial, attorney Steven Stoll and Joe's brother Dennis Guaracino, that the prosecutors were going to do just about anything they could to nail Joe Guaracino.  

With that in mind, the prosecutors filed a motion to get the government to stop funding Joe's defense...

Joe Guaracino government Memorandum on Eligibility of CJA Counsel

Interesting to say the least, the government alleges that Mr. Guaracino was somewhat less than honest about how much money he had on hand and how much he was actually making when he claimed that he could not afford to cover his legal expenses.  I can't say that I was surprised considering everything else that's gone on in this case when the Judge ruled in the governments favor...

Reconsideration of joe Guaracino Eligibility for Cja Counsel

As if all of that wasn't bad enough, take a look at this bit...

Not only is the judge not going to let the government pay for Mr. Guaracino's legal bills but he's making Guaracino repay all the money the government has paid on his behalf to date!

That's unreal.  Am I the only one getting the feeling that the government is going to do anything and everything they can to make sure they nail Guaracino?  Forget about questionable rulings like we've seen in the past, now that the guy can't pay for his own defense and the government won't foot the bill, how is he supposed to defend himself? 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Uh, your honor...


Ever wonder about the judges who sit high atop the bench and look down their noses as they judge average citizens like you and me?  Somehow because they've either been elected or appointed to their positions, they seem to believe that by donning those robes they've absolved themselves of any wrong and somehow ascend to a god like position, at least in their minds, yet they forget that they're no different than anyone else.  That brings us to the Honorable Judge William Adams of Aransas County Texas, take a look at how the good judge handles himself while off the bench in this nifty video his daughter captured through a hidden camera in her bedroom...

From the video description written by his daughter, Hillary Adams...
Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father's backwards views. The judge's wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge's wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can't even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgement" is a giant farce. Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.
It's worth noting that Judge Adams has handled at least 350 family law cases this past year alone with "nearly 50 of which involved state caseworkers seeking to determine whether parents were fit to raise their children"!  According to Judge Adams, he's done nothing wrong.  That's strange though, it seems to me that the video in question shows a brutal assault on a 16 year old girl whose alleged misdeed was "illegally" downloading music and games on her computer.

Think about this judge's behavior next time you hear "all arise" or the next time a judge makes a ruling that makes no damn sense to you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Convicted former City of Miami assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur gets a new lawyer...

Veldora Arthur the former City of Miami assistant fire chief that was federally convicted of several counts of mail and wire fraud resulting from a massive mortgage fraud scheme has replaced the attorney who represented her during trial, Larry Handfield, with a new attorney for the sentencing phase of her case.  Her new attorney, Bruce Lehr, is a heavyweight in the criminal defense world down here in South Florida, here's the motion for substitution of counsel...

Substitution of Counsel for Sentencing Veldora Arthur

And her former attorneys subsequent withdrawal from the case...

Larry Handfield Motion to Withdraw Veldora Arthur

I have to wonder what caused Veldora to make this move, doesn't it seem like too little too late?  Considering what was at stake, why didn't she hire a criminal defense powerhouse like Lehr before the trial?  After all Mr. Lehr most recently represented attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt who was a named partner in convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's former law firm, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler,  and managed to keep him out of jail for the last couple of years, in fact the feds haven't even charged him yet and he's managed to keep his law license!   Isn't this the guy you'd want on your side from the get go?  

Another thing to consider is the enormous amount of money that Veldora has spent to date defending herself, her former attorney, Larry Handfield, told several of my friends that he'd collected a $150,000 flat fee from Veldora for his representation and remember, that's in addition to what she spent with the other attorney that represented her, Herbert Walker.  The question that begs to be asked is where does a City of Miami firefighter come up with what seems to be easily in excess of $200k in attorneys fees?  What makes this even worse is that despite spending a small fortune the cornerstone of the defense teams strategy according to the government was...
Essentially, defense counsel will use the expert to attempt to have the jury impute, infer or assume that Arthur herself is one of these people with a mortgage-broker license who allegedly does not know very much about anything pertaining to mortgages, loan applications, and closing-related documents. 

Is this the best her defense "dream team" could come up with?  She didn't know about anything that was going on despite the fact that she was a licensed mortgage broker herself?  Isn't this defense just another permutation of the "dog ate my homework" excuse?  Is that the best $200k can buy you these days?  If that's the case, I'd save my money and defend myself, thank you very much!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If you're gonna vote today...

If you're in the City of Miami and you're going to vote, take a moment and remember the commissioners that are responsible for bringing our fair City the visual pollution that seems to be popping up on every street corner...

LED billboards are popping up all over the City of Miami, not just the ones along the major highways but now were seeing them on busy street corners in some instances no more than two stories high putting them practically in your face.  Think of how much money the billboard industry has flooded into the campaign coffers of those running for reelection today and you might get a better understanding of who really runs our government.