Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blogs Exposing Corruption in Courts

By Julie Kay The National Law Journal

In May, Dale Ross, chief judge for the Florida circuit court in Broward County for 16 years, stepped down following a year of embarrassing scandals, gaffes and bad behavior by his judges.Although pressure was building for Ross to resign for years, many legal observers say it would not have happened if not for the new Broward courthouse blog, JAA Blog.

The JAA Blog was started in August 2006 by a group of criminal defense lawyers fed up with the way things were being run in the Broward courthouse. They believed that it operated like a "good ol' boys network" rather than the second-largest county court in Florida.

The blog's founders include criminal defense attorney Bill Gelin of Tribune Legal Services in Fort Lauderdale and assistant public defenders Brian Reidy and Vivian Gariboldi.

The Broward blog is one of a handful of legal blogs that have started in South Florida in the past two years that have shone a spotlight on the justice system.

"The [JAA] blog absolutely effectuated change," said Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein. "There is no question in my mind that it had a great deal to do with the toppling of the past judicial administration."

"People underestimate the impact of the Justice Building Blog, but I believe that every state-court judge, particularly criminal, reads it routinely as well as most of the practitioners," said Brian Tannebaum, a defense lawyer at Tannebaum Weiss in Miami.

"There are a lot of things that happen in the building that people didn't know about. I think it's had a huge impact on the way people operate in the criminal courthouse," Tannebaum said.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Leonard Glick said he reads the Justice Building Blog "two to three times a day" and sometimes writes in."I think it's an interesting exchange of ideas," he said. "Some people spoil things by posting juvenile and hurtful things. But it's not totally a gossip mill. There are elements of important


1 comment:

The Stark Raving Viking said...

Judicial employees often google judge's names and other subjects. When a judge's name and story is in a blog, a judge may have read it.

I have been told by defendants that they were ordered by a judge not to talk to me and others that were blogging on judicial abuse.