So, I heard the audio today. I did not see the video. I don’t know what led up to it. But Judge Jimmy Martz was yelling so loud that the microphone was distorted. Yes ladies and gentleman, this is what started it all. That’s why we have a contested race. Margarita Downey is running against Jimmy Martz. Jimmy Martz is also heard screaming “Get out of my courtroom!” It is not your courtroom. It is the People’s courtroom. It is not your seat. It is the People’s seat. Florida state county and circuit court judges serve at the will of the people. Every six years. The Post story says:
Angry and frustrated, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge James Martz laced into attorney Margherita Downey one day last September.
“When I’m talking, you’ve got to listen,” he told her. If she didn’t want to follow judicial orders, he said, “go down and get on the ballot.”
Judges should be respectful and courteous even when others aren’t. Many times, is not what is said but how it is said.
In the preamble of the code of judicial conduct, it says:
intrinsic to all sections of this code are the precepts that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honor the judicial office is a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in our legal system.
Canon one says in part:
A judge shall uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary…a judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.
You can’t violate rule number one when you are a judge. Be nice. This is a very expensive lesson for Jimmy Martz – even if he wins the election. He certainly has the backing of a lot of lawyers and the money that comes along with that. Margarita Downey has put in over $50,000 of her own money toward her campaign.
I don’t think I’ve had one case in front of Jimmy Martz because he’s down in South County doing family law. Maybe he just had a bad day. But you don’t just yell and scream at people as a judge. Forget about the lawyers for second. Just think if you were a litigant. You’re there. You’re scared. You are getting a divorce. Maybe the judge is considering a change of child custody, alimony, child support, etc. How can you have faith in the system when the judge loses his temper? It completely undermines the faith that we should have in our system of justice. It further bolsters the stereotype of what people think justice is by watching it on TV. Drama.
Don’t forget to vote August 14th.
Scienter be damned. The opinion is here. h/t jaablog.
You have to give it to Judge Milt Hirsch. It takes a huge set of coconut balls to find a statute unconstitutional and write an opinion with Shakespearean references. And to say that federal law trumps state law when interpreting a statute.
I was in trial today, so I missed the judge wannabe candidates debate co-sponsored by PBACDL. Most lawyers know who they are going to vote for anyway. It may be a good way for the candidates to shake down some more people for money. It’s harder to say no in person.
The 4th DCA says to interim State Attorney Peter Antonacci – Go pound sand!
Barry Cohen can hear criminal cases. It was a one line opinion. Talk about a slap in the face. The 4th basically said your argument is so crappy we won’t even dignify it with a response. Prior post on it here.
Two female prosecutors got robbed at gunpoint. They were outside Okeechobee steakhouse. That’s an expensive lunch for a prosecutor. In more ways than one. Their lunch prices are like dinner prices everywhere else. The prime rib – rare of course – is fantastic there. Mooooo….The robber only got one wallet. The robber is lucky he didn’t get shot. I know prosectors that pack heat. I see them taking their guns out at the courthouse. You know, at the west end, just before you get to the security checkpoint. There’s a number of safes there for cops, asas, etc. to put their guns there. The ladies would have well been within their rights under the 2nd amendment and Florida’s stand your ground law to whack that guy.
There’s a gun show this weekend at the fairgrounds. The ads are everywhere. Some gun enthusiasts swear by the baby glock. Others don’t like the fact that it doesn’t have anywhere to put their pinky. Others prefer a 5 shot .38 special for concealed carry. Maybe some prosecutors want to stop by, take the concealed weapons permit class and arm themselves. They may not even need the cwp class since they are a division of law enforcement. Hey, it doesn’t hurt though. If you leave the SAO, you are set.
There will be a conflict of interest for the SAO in Palm Beach to prosecute the case. Let’s see who gets the case. Assuming there is an ID, of course.
Many victims of robbery look more at the gun than the perpetrator. I did when I was robbed. Actually it was two guys that robbed my friend and me. One had a gun and the other had a knife. It’s difficult to ID somebody when you are in shock and fearing for you life. You are thinking about surviving the robbery and less about the “stuff” the bad guy is getting. I have defended robbery with a firearm cases after I got robbed. I found myself being able to get into the alleged victim’s head easily. We should always try to do that in every case. Get in the other person’s shoes. How do they feel? What motivates them? What is going on in their heads? Gerry Spence’s TLC teaches us to love our enemies.
Bill Matthewman got sworn in Monday. H/t David Markus. He is our newest federal magistrate judge. He will come up to West Palm Beach. Bill just got a not guilty for his client charged with murder. Not a bad way to go out. With Dave Brannon and now Bill Matthewman, there are finally some former defense lawyers on the bench. Kathy Williams too.
Happy 4th of July. Going down to the 4th on Flagler? Tip: The view from Palm Beach is great and you don’t have the crowds that you do over the bridge.