Hey, look who’s back! Our favorite comic-book villain, Alan Grayson, is throwing his goatee back into next year’s District 8 congressional race, wherein he’ll once again try to knock off Orlando’s Favorite Congressman, Ric Keller! Of course, he’ll have to succeed where he failed in 2006 (winning the Democratic primary) to get that chance. And he’ll need to improve on the public-relations front to do that: Grayson has three degrees from Harvard, a bunch of kids with strange names and a house the Wall Street Journal once described as “pink-painted.” He’s smart and all, but can totally come off as a snobby Northeastern liberal lawyer weirdo.
But Grayson is an ass-kicker, which is a good thing. He’s made a cottage industry out of suing war profiteers. On Oct. 18, we got a press release from his campaign – which, quite frankly, we didn’t know existed – announcing that CBS News was traveling down here to interview Grayson about a lawsuit he filed against a Kuwaiti company he accuses of cheating American taxpayers. Awesome, right? Whether or not such national media coverage translates into victory in 2008 remains to be seen. It didn’t last year.
You know what’s fun about lawyers? Not much. (Thank you very much. We’ll be here all week.) Except when they get a chance to bitch about judges anonymously. And here in Central Florida, they do. It’s an annual poll conducted by the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and it’s pretty much your one and only chance to find out which judges the lawyers think suck, so let’s get cracking.
Among Orange-Osceola Circuit judges, Bob LeBlanc came in a resounding first, scoring a 4.83 out of a possible five in the “overall rating” category. Nipping at his heels was Judge Stan Strickland with a 4.71. The anonymous attorneys weren’t quite so fond of Judges Anthony Johnson and Jose Rodriguez, who scored a 2.83 and 2.33 respectively. Among Orange County judges, lawyers think Mike Murphy and Steve Jewett are swell, with 4.78 and 4.67 overall ratings respectively. Judge Deborah Ansbro, meanwhile, scored an anemic 2.43.
That’s all well and good, but the real source of amusement comes from the comments left about the various judges. “The end of the tyrant judge has to be near. The circuit motto of ‘professionalism requires civility’ is unknown to Judges `Carol` Draper, `Jay` Cohen and `Frank` Kaney,” wrote one pissy barrister.
Other fun bits: “`Seminole County Circuit` Judge `Marlene` Alva needs to work on her demeanor; she has a tendency to be rude on occasion, almost as if she is irritated that she has court. Trust me, the attorneys don’t want to be in her courtroom any more than she does.”
“`Seminole County` Judge `Ralph` Eriksson is rude and mean-spirited, especially to unrepresented defendants,” opined one. “Judge Eriksson has no business being a judge, he is immature and sarcastic,” moaned another. “Judge Eriksson believes that he is the smartest person on the bench, fortunately appellate courts know otherwise,” quipped a third.
Some snide comments about Seminole County Judge Mark Herr made the poll: “`Herr` does not know case law, Herr was completely unaware that confidential psychiatric records of the victim were not discoverable”; “Judge Herr is very unprofessional with respect to his demeanor on the bench. He needs to refrain from shaking his head and rolling his eyes, especially when he is presiding in a jury trial.” Ouch.
And there were a few nasty snippets regarding Orange County Circuit Judge Anthony Johnson, who “disregards the law when he feels it is too lenient. I thought the conservative idea was judges who follow the law – not judges who try to make the law,” wrote one complainer. “It is great that `Johnson` tries to keep his caseload down but it can’t be at the expense of allowing juveniles to plead guilty without speaking to an attorney,” scribbled another.
It wasn’t all kvetching. “Judge Jenifer Davis is outstanding. Follows the law. Impartial and fair and uses common sense.” “`Seminole County Judge Jerri` Collins is fair, polite, and diligent; she is a model for the county court bench.” Isn’t that sweet.
If we didn’t know better – and we seldom do – we would have thought that the cops were playing a nasty trick Oct. 15. With the help of some blind people, some white canes and some guide dogs, Orlando police set up what seemed to be a traffic trap at the corner of Michigan Street and Orange Avenue on Monday. Oh, how we laughed (and hated ourselves for it) at the idea of the police throwing the sightless into a busy intersection just to wait for somebody to hit them, thus upping their ticketing ante.
Alas, it wasn’t all as nefarious as it seemed; or so the cops would have you believe.
According to the Man, the event was staged in cooperation with the blind in observance of White Cane Safety Day – the celebration of the achievements of blind people established in 1964 – as a means of reminding drivers that they shouldn’t run over people who can’t see them, because that’s mean.
“If they see a cane or a guide dog, they have to stop, even though they have the green light,” says Orlando Police Department spokescop Sgt. Barbara Jones. She says it was a Florida Highway Patrol/ Orange County Sheriff’s department event – our sources sighted OPD there, too, but whatevs – but she doesn’t know of any arrests. Insert blind-leading-the-blind joke here.
Imagine yourself twirling your boa in your getting-ready-to-go-out vanity mirror, when all of the sudden your MySpace (we’re hip with the kids, see) twinkles a new bulletin just in the corner of your eye. “Ah … Tonight! Chance to Win Free Boobies!” The boa falls to the floor, a tear drops onto your A-cups, you collapse to the floor and crash into pieces.
That’s the marketing scheme Dolce (which used to be Club Paris, which used to be in a thriving Church Street Station, which we used to care about) is stirring up. This “giveaway like no other” – unless, of course, you’re a morning radio shock program – promises an ultimately embarrassed girl (no boys?) the chance to go under the knife of esteemed Dr. Choi of Advanced Aesthetics so that they too can look like everybody else, marry, sag a little, then divorce. Dolce hopes to augment boobies about once a week, they say. We can only hope it turns into a Nip/Tuck stage show!
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