Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick was indicted yesterday for Conspiracy and running a dog fighting operation.

Of course Mr. Vick is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Animal cruelty charges sit right on a par with child abuse as some of the most troubling accusations a client can face. The question we have is what do you think the Falcons organization does here? Do they ignore it and let the legal process play out, or move quickly, suspend Vick with pay so he can concentrate on his legal troubles and make a decision after the case?

This much we do know: if Vick was indicted in Miami and his case was assigned to Judge Huck, the case would be over by the end of August in time for the NFL season.


The Miami Dolphins cut their latest savior QB, Daunte Culpepper, ending an experiment with an aging and injured QB that cost the organization over 5 million dollars.
Being a Dol-Fan these days is beginning to feel like being a Cubs fan. You could be 30 years old, born and raised in Miami, and not have been alive the last times the Dolphins won a Super Bowl. That is a disturbing thought.


The Broward Blog quotes Broward PD Help Me Howard Finkelstein on the election of a new chief judge:

Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein welcomed the change as a ''watershed'' that he hopes will end what he called Ross' ''secretive and autocratic'' administration.''They ruled through fiat and fear,'' Finkelstein said.
``The tools they used were vicious, rank rumor-mongering designed to destroy the reputations of individuals who differed with them.''

Rumpole says: "They ruled through fiat and fear" and that was with the people they knew and worked with every day. Imagine how they treated the poor misguided Miami attorney that said to him/herself "what they heck? Sure I'll take a case in Broward. How bad could it be?"

See you in Court. I'm the guy with the Cubs hat on.


Anonymous said...

First off: I'm no lawyer. I find the phrase invoked in this post: "innocent until proven guilty" to infer upcoming guilt. As defense attorneys, why don't you say "innocent unless proven guilty"?

Anonymous said...

Good idea.

Anonymous said...

11:32 is right!

Anonymous said...

"Animal cruelty charges are some of the most serious".... huh? What about, say, murder, or armed robbery, or home invasion, or poss of alot of any drug the govt doesnt like, etc. Animal cruelty charges, while disgusting, are not really that serious compared to almost every other felony. Seems like you're slipping a little lately.

Anonymous said...

Against my better judgment I will respond to my "fans" here. I am honored someone thinks I would be a good State Attorney but I have no current plans to run.

I did up to the time they changed the court appointment system handle capital cases. I still handle private murder cases if someone wants to hire me.

My law firm does advertise for criminal traffic cases. We do not advertise for tickets. The economics of law are such that my partner-boss-wife and I made a decision a few years ago to diversify and I would continue to handle any serious state or federal case that came in and would otherwise assist in the higher volume criminal traffic cases. In light of the changes in the court appointment system I am glad we did this.

The person who apparently does not like me wrote that I am arrogant.
I like to think I am confident not arrogant. I win many cases but not all of them. My last murder trial was in the paper for the result of having the case nolle prossed during trial. Prior to that I lost a murder case to the same prosecutor Tammy Forrest and Ray Sarmiento was assisting her. It was the first self defense case I have ever lost and the credit goes to Tammy and Ray. The outcome still bothers me and always will, but the simple fact is that they tried a very solid case and I did the best I could.

I like to think that as a prosecutor for the Dade SAO in the 1980's I received great training and experience. I also believe that clients look to hire a lawyer that appears confident and experienced. I certainly would want someone who was representing me to be confident about their skills.
However as Jackie can tell you, I frequently fret and worry about cases big and small and frequently lose sleep, get sick and get grouchy right before a trial begins. I care a lot about doing a good job for my clients.

I have made many good friends in last 20 years. I have been honored to have been asked to represent colleagues including prosecutors and lawyers who have been arrested or investigated. In some of those cases I have worked for free to help a friend. I am proud that someone thought enough of me to ask me to help, and I am also proud that I was able to help. Pride is different from arrogance in my opinion.

As to my supposed temper, that comment comes from one incident, much discussed on this blog over a year ago, in which someone was banging on my door at my home on a Sunday afternoon when I was sick and was in the middle of a murder trial in Broward. I did not know that person nor was he invited to my home. Thus when my trial finished I called him up and told him in no uncertain terms to ever do that again. He was not invited, he was not expected, and he was making wild and ridiulous allegations about me getting the FDLE to investigate him. I had never met this person before the day he decided to try and force his way into my home. I am a former prosecutor who has sent many people to prison and I take the privacy and safety of my family seriously.

In that regard I also make no apologies for my business. Sure I would love to just handle high profile cases but that is not economically feasible or otherwise possible. My wife and I are blessed with one son and we just learned we will be having another one. To that end, I would sweep floors and wash dishes if that is what it took to support my family. I would never be embarrassed by any honest work. I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY and almost all of my prior work experience before being a lawyer was as a commercial fisherman in NY. I washed decks, cleaned fish, hauled chum buckets and did what ever was needed to do.

I learned about people, business, hard work, and respect for the environment. I am proud of that work as well. Although I want both of my sons to earn professional degrees, I also want them to learn the value of hard manual labor and respect for the environment. In the end, whatever career they choose I just want them to be happy. Lord knows I have spent many dreary days in court day dreaming about being on the North Atlantic on a crisp September morning hauling up Cod, Tile, Bluefish and Tuna.

In the final analysis, If I win a murder case or a traffic ticket for a friend, I am proud of my work, my legal skills, and outside of some anonymous cowards on this blog, I am proud of my reputation that I have worked to build since August 11 1986 which is the first day I ever walked into the Justice Building for my first day of work as a prosecutor. There is no legal case “beneath” me. Every case has a client that needs me. If they are kind enough to ask for my help, I am honored to give it my best shot. If the person who thinks such horrible things about me wants to discuss this further, they should call or email me. That is not some hot headed threat. That is truly my request, as it does trouble me that someone is so angry or dislikes me as to make nasty anonymous comments about me.

I am sorry to bore the rest of your readers Rumpole, but I do read the blog, as do most of my friends, and the comment bothered me. I guess that was the person's intent, and to that extent maybe he or she has won. But I am a defense attorney, and I do defend people from untrue allegations, and I guess that extends to myself as well (although I of course know the old adage about having a fool for a client.) I said I wasn't arrogant, I didn't say I don't do foolish things.

Phil R.

Anonymous said...


Rumpole said...

11:32- excellent point. Well said and well taken.

My old friend "zzzzzzzzzzz"!!!!

Welcome back!!!!!

Fake Captain said...

Call him Judge Thornton.

Anonymous said...


Gee if I knew you that I would get that response I would not have jerked your leg.

Gee, try and get a laugh and bam get hit with an extended Hallmark card.

Sorry Phil. I like you just take a chill pill.


Rump, I wrote a post criticizing you for calling animal cruelty charges among the very most serious charges. I thought it quite tame. Why not print it? I thought you only censored for personal attacks, etc, and rightly so, but for what I wrote???

Rumpole said...

I did not censor that post. If you sent it, it was published. Make sure you wrote it under the post you are now looking at.

My thoughts are that certain crimes carry an almost instantaneous stigma, and I think even beyond the charge of murder, that child abuse carries that type of stigma. There are defenses to killing someone - mistake, justifiable use of force, intent, etc. There really is no defense other than "I didn't do it" for child abuse or animal abuse.

Again, when I do not post a comment, I always say I haven't done it and ecplain why. That has not occured here.

Rumpole said...

This is it- right?

"Animal cruelty charges are some of the most serious".... huh? What about, say, murder, or armed robbery, or home invasion, or poss of alot of any drug the govt doesnt like, etc. Animal cruelty charges, while disgusting, are not really that serious compared to almost every other felony. Seems like you're slipping a little lately.

check out 1:18 pm- it went up.

Rumpole said...

It just got stuck behind a very long comment from Phil R.

Anonymous said...

5:33- geez with friends like that....you call a guy a liar on a blog that gets ready by everybody in the criminal defense bar in Dade and then say you really didn't mean it? Doesn't sound too friendly to me.

Anonymous said...

8:13 pm and Philip R. ok Phil, get a good hold on the arms of your chair and get a real strong GRIP!!!

Had I know I was posting comments on the Vaticans lastest tribute to Pope John Paul I may have been a bit more careful.

On the left side of this Blog Rumpole writes that this is for humor, rumor and bla bla bla, etc etc etc and la de da.

get over it already.

Anonymous said...

1:18 poster: Animal cruelty charges are not that serious? Are you kidding? Have you ever heard an animal howl in pain as it's being tortured? Obviously not, otherwise you'd not make such a comment. Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer started off by torturing animals -- look where they wound up. Any person who deliberately engages in this conduct has some serious shit going on upstairs. IMHO, animal cruelty charges are much more worrisome and heinous that ANY drug charge or theft charge. Child abuse and animal abuse go hand in hand: they victimize the most innocent and defenseless beings. If Vick is indeed guilty of what he's being accused of, I hope they roast his balls.