Candidate’s Father Was Murdered In Sensational Case



Few judicial candidates understand the victims of crime like Melanie Golden.

Golden’s father was murdered in one of the most-highly publicized Broward crimes in the 1980s.

“I know very personally how crime affects a person and a family,” Golden says.

She is running against County Judge Terri-Ann-Miller in the August primary.

Miller has surprisingly little support from the legal establishment, maybe because challenged two incumbent judges before winning a seat on the bench. And Golden has surprisingly a lot of courthouse support for someone running against an incumbent.

The Case


Golden’s father was Eric Golden, a combative divorce lawyer shot to death Feb. 19, 1987 outside his sixth-floor office in the Cumberland Building on East Broward Boulevard.

It was one of my top 10 murders I ever covered,” says Larry Keller, an award-winning veteran court reporter working for the Sun-Sentinel at the time.

The Eric Golden case was in the papers and on TV for years through two trials—the first thrown out.

“I remember having reporters camped out in front of our house,” Melanie Golden says.

It had all the elements of saucy great story – sex, murder and money.

Add to that mix was the nature of the victim. Eric Golden was not loved by some ex-spouses of his clients, who leaked sex and drug allegations about the victim.

“I compared the case to the old Perry Mason TV show,” Keller recalls. “The show always had four or five people who had a motive to do the killing.  A lot of people had a motive to kill Eric Golden. Lots and lots of people hated his guts.”

In fact, the killer clearly was out for revenge.

“Golden was hit and fell. Then (the shooter) came up – talk about a personal statement—and point blank shot him in the ass,” Keller says.

Keller “doesn’t know” if he ever got that salient fact in the newspaper in those more restrained pre-Internet 1980s.

Detectives quickly winnowed down the list to Morris Kleinfeld, a 72-year-old millionaire retiree. Golden had represented Kleinfeld’s fourth wife in a recent divorce.

Kleinfeld hated Eric Golden.  He had sent a threatening letter to Eric Golden’s wife and had stalked the lawyer.

The case turned the courthouse into a circus. A judge was put under around-the-clock security for months because of threats stemming from the Eric Golden murder. Arrogant, belligerent and bombastic, Kleinfeld had a habit of yelling and screaming in court.

The judge who saw him at his first appearance in court wanted nothing to do with the defendant and recused himself, according to Sam Fields, an attorney and’s columnist. Fields said he represented Kleinfeld for “about 10 minutes.”

“He was uncontrollable,” Fields says.

Kleinfeld got convicted – twice—and died in prison a few years later.

The scars still remain for Golden’s daughter, then 7-years-old and now running for judge.

The Real Victim

Branded into Melanie Golden’s soul was an understanding that what goes on the in courthouse has a real human element.  And the justice must go a long way to right wrongs.

“The names of Chuck Morton and Kelly Hancock were revered in my house, “ says Melanie Golden, naming the two prosecutors of her father’s killer.

When she got out of the University of Florida Law School in 2004, she went to the Public Defender’s Office. She represented those accused of crime despite her history.

“I’m sure I could have gotten a job with a prosecutor,” she says. “I wanted to learn both sides.”

Melanie Golden spent five years as an assistant public defender. She now works litigating civil cases across the state for clients who are mostly banks.

“I’ve been in court almost every day for seven years,” Melanie Golden says.

She believes she is ready to be a county court judge.

For many people, being in court is the worst moment of their lives. Judges need to have understanding along with experience and legal knowledge.  This is especially true of County Court, which deals with minor matters.

This is a court which deals with many caught in the court system for the first time. Some are charged with victimless crimes. Some are involved in disputes with their neighbors or had arguments that turn into shoving matches.

County Court is the real People’s Court.

Melanie Golden is prepared by her unique personal  history to be on the bench.

She understands what its like on all sides in the courthouse – as a lawyer and as a victim who lost her father to a terrible crime.








A sampling of some of the headlines from the sensational case:  

Divorce Lawyer Shot To Death Entering Office

February 20, 1987|By United Press International



Sun-Sentinel – Friday, February 20, 1987

Author: By JONATHON KING, Staff Writer


Judge Under Protection Takes Leave Of Absence

March 13, 1987|By PETER ARONSON, Staff Writer


Victim`s Life A Focus Of Trial Defense Points To Lawyer`s Enemies As Suspects In His Murder

July 17, 1988|By LARRY KELLER, Staff Writer


`Let Them Give Me … Death` Kleinfeld Gets Life In Slaying Of Lawyer

July 30, 1988|By LARRY KELLER, Staff Writer


Retiree Murder Convict To Get Retrial

September 6, 1990|By LARRY KELLER, Staff Writer

34 Responses to “Candidate’s Father Was Murdered In Sensational Case”

  1. None says:

    I feel bad for miss golden but shouldn’t this election be about qualifications?

  2. s only says:

    Excellently written Buddy—you’ve still “got it”…

  3. Robo Lawyer says:

    Golden needs to win.

  4. Just sayin' says:

    By my calculations, that makes Ms. Golden about 32, and 7 years out of law
    school… Give me a break. What I want in a judge is a certain level of
    maturity and a lot more legal experience. And, from what I read on JAABlog,
    she is now works for a foreclosure mill that throws people out of their
    houses via robo-signing of mortgage documents. So much for “what is branded
    into her soul.”  I didn’t see this fact mentioned so I can only conclude she
    never told you this.  Yeah, that’s all we need another judge wannabe showing
    a lack of candor to the court of public opinion…


  5. Las Olas Lawyer says:

    Buddy is not endorsing this candidate. He is recounting an story from the past. I had an office in the Cumberland Building years later and everybody was still talking about it. Thank you for recounting it.

  6. Frankie says:

    If you think a lawyer with 7 years experience should be a judge, you are nuts.

  7. Wisdom says:

    Fla has a legal rqmnt of 5 yrs exp to run; 7 yrs is clearly sufficient, esp if, like Golden, they’re spent trying cases in both civil & criminal courts. Bet the ranch Golden spent more time as a trial lawyer on her feet in court than did her opponent.

  8. Plain Language says:

    Just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean it is advisable that you should.

  9. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    There was a famous Hollywood director (name slips me) when asked by a reporter, “what is that famous young movie starlet all about”, he replied “who says she is”.

    I wonder… All women have vaginas, but not all women are ob/gyns.

    I cannot fathom the hurt she experienced… Nor can I fathom how pushing a bank’s paperwork through the court system gives her the experience necessary to be a judge.

  10. Plain Language says:

    I am plain language and that was not my comment.

  11. Sam Fields says:

    Yes, as the Asst. PD in the division I represented Crazy Morris for about ten minutes.

    I always wanted to confirm the story that when Golden arrived at the Emergency Room the doctor recognized him as his ex-wife’s lawyer. OOPS!

    On a more serious note Kleinfelter was a profoundly disturbed person accused of a crime with little real evidence.

    His in Court behavior of bellowing at the judge and the prosecutor was what got him the GUILTY verdict.

    If he had quietly sat there it would have been a Not Guilty with a 3rd year law student.

    With that in court behavior three Dreams Teams couldn’t save him.

    One prosecutor who knew the case well once expressed to me doubts about Kleinfelter’s guilt.

    If true, I am less bothered that Kleinfelter died in prison—he brought that on himself—than the idea that the real murderer escaped justice.

  12. dk says:

    i remember the case. i watched the verdict. his last name was kleinfeld, if i remember correctly.

  13. Gimme a break says:

    Buddy says. ” Melanie is prepared by her unique personal history to be on the bench.”. Are you kidding me? Because her father was murdered when she was 7? that makes her qualified to serve as a judge.

    Her opponent has served as a judge since miss golden was in elementary school. And maybe she has unique life stories that qualify her to serve. Not everyone uses their life traumas to promote themselves.

    I’ll be voting for the women, not the girl.

  14. not quite says:

    i remember miller going on about being a victim of corruption about how she was booted off the ballot when she ran againt deluca. also remember time when she mentioned the reason she left the bench in miami was because of her ruling at the time of the elian gonzalez case. please dont sel terri ann’s virtues, there is a reason no one cares if she wins or loses. judge deluca was back then and continues to be a great judge and no one forgets terri ann running against him. payback is a bitch and now she is the sitting judge getting an opponent

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why Judge Miller now has an opponent is water under the bridge. The question that remains is who is better qualified to be a judge? I fail to see how someone
    who has been a lawyer for seven years can be more qualified than Judge Miller, who apparently has many more years both as a lawyer
    and as a judge. My vote’s for Miller.

  16. Wisdom says:

    “Voting for the woman, not the girl”??? Is this a joke? An experienced trial lawyer in her 30’s is a “girl”? Who wrote this – Archie Bunker? BTW, the “woman” was elected to the bench in her 30’s so I guess even the “woman” would take umbrage with your misogyny. And how many trials, jury and nonjury, has the “woman” tried, been the advocate in the arena? What matters is not the years of experience but the experience in the years.

  17. Judge Not Let Ye Be Judged says:

    This is quite the dilema. I don’t know who to choose because both are a bad choice. First, like it or not, it is the very rare woman who is fit to be a judge since they (usually) act out of emotion and not logic. Sorry ladies and all you Alan Alda types out there. I consider Miller as a carpet bagger type person, fleeing Dade for Broward. And “Not Quite” is right about DeLuca, a great judge.

    Golden is very young for a judge and if she is pushing her victimhood as credentials for the job, that is less than sad.

    So, both candidates are unqualified to sit as judge, IMO, and there is only one way to pick a winner. Who is hotter? That would have to be Golden. Miller might not have been coyote ugly back in the day, but she is well past her stripper pole years. Hey, that is an idea, have Golden bring a portable stripper pole with her as she campaigns. Lots of votes to be gained there.

    FROM BUDDY: She isn’t “pushing her victimhood”. I wrote about it, so I would be the guilty party.

  18. Watcher says:

    Eric was brilliant but a major jerk…Miller seems to be a good judge…the one that wins will be the one that works hardest…which is just fine

  19. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Wisdom says:
    What matters is not the years of experience but the experience in the years.

    1) I’d like to see that in haiku form….

    2) So, using your logic, Golden’s numerous LP cases qualify as “extensive trial experience”? Suppose you shot someone dead in your home. Would she be the first attorney you would call for your representation? If so, I hope you really like balogna.


    I’ll jump into the debate.

    Ideally lawyers should have more experience. I would be in favor of a Constitutional Amendment requiring 10 years experience for a judge, not the current five years. I also am in favor of all judges being picked by the Judicial Nominating Commission of experts and then appointed by the governor.

    Golden is running against Terri-Ann Miller, who was a judge in Dade County before moving to Broward. She first won office in 1992, 13 years after passing the Bar. Her career consisted of one year in the Hillsboro County Public Defenders Office. She then moved to the law firm of Ellis Rubin, the late well-known firebrand Miami attorney. She left Rubin for a solo private practice — the Miami Herald described it as a DUI practice — so small she didn’t have a legal secretary.

    Actually, lawyers with less experience represent folks charged with crime every day. Many work for the Public Defender’s Office and do a terrific job.

  20. Let's Set The Record Straight says:

    In 1992, Terri Miller was named by the Miami Herald as one of the
    Top Three DUI lawyers in Dade County, based on handling at least
    50 DUI cases in one year and having the lowest conviction rate. I remember this because I was also rated. So, when she got elected, it was good to have a judge who had a ton of trial experience who knew her stuff…

  21. not quite says:

    Yeah Judge Miller never played on sympathy to forward a campaign…!OpenDocument

    JUDGE QUITS RACE DUE TO ‘ETHNIC POLICIES’ — The Miami Herald,, Jul. 19, 2000.
    Miami-Dade County Judge Terri-Ann Miller says ethnic politics, especially in relation to the Elian Gonzalez case, made her decide not to run for re-election in Miami-Dade County and instead seek election to the Broward County Court. Miller said Tuesday [Jul. 18] that she could “no longer stomach the thought of running a costly campaign against an inspiring Cuban-American attorney whose lawyer brother has had a hostile relationship with Miller.” Adriana Quirantes, who had filed to run against Miller, said, “I believe she is leaving our county because she is sour, she is bitter. I don’t think Elian had anything to do with her decision. She’s trying to use that, period, in order to try to win in Broward County.” Luise Krieger Martin, daughter of federal criminal defense attorney Albert Krieger, has also filed to run for the seat.

  22. no secretary? says:

    Buddy, a great number of successful defense attorneys and even litigation attorneys do not have legal secretaries. That’s not an indication of whether they are successful. Receptionists, answering services and part time typists can easily assist a successful solo-practitioner. These lawyers are often focused on the job and not caught up in all the bells and whistles that accompany a larger law firm. These practices often lower the cost for the clients as well. It happens everyday and works well for men and women who want to balance working at home and raising kids.

    Please Buddy, try to educate yourself before you make baseless claims. This is not the first time you have written stuff you have no idea about.


    All I said was the practice was so small she didn’t need a secretary. I stand corrected if it reflected at all on her abilities.

  23. Coconut Creek says:

    Saw Golden a couple of weeks ago, she is definitely pushing her victimhood. No pole , but that might work better. Also, she gave out a card with a website, but there is nothing there when you go to it. Kinda like her, I guess, an empty suit

  24. Go Goggle It says:


    i googled DUI Terri Miller, Terri Ann Miller and Miami Hearld, in all the internet no “Top 3” ranking comes up.

    But I did find Judge Miller’s lawyer still likes to have the article of Miller running against Deluca on his website.

  25. Let's Set The Record Straight says:

    Not everything is on Google, I guess. Go to the Miami Herald Archives from October, 1991 and pay to download the article, if you are so inclined. Use the search term Successful DUI Attorneys…

  26. Consultant says:

    Miller ran against the highest rated county court judge, Steve DeLuca. She ran against him because she tried to pull off the Jewish vs Italian name game. She has no integrity.
    This is a county court position, which only handles misdemeanors and $15,000 lawsuits. Melanie Golden is more than qualified.
    Vote Golden over Miller. It’s a no-brainer.

  27. Query says:

    Miller is a Jewish name? That’s news to me. I know three and none of them are Jewish, and neither is Terry Ann.

  28. Not so fast says:

    To consultant:

    When someone is a judge they preside over people’s liberty and people’s finances. It is plain stupid to discredit that responsibility and power by claiming that it’s only a mere year in jail and just $15,000, so therefore a young inexperienced lawyer could easily handle it. I’m sure the victims involved want a fair, compassionate and experienced judge presiding. Losing ones liberty even if only for a week can affect someone’s entire life, they may lose their job, spouse etc.

    BTW: whose consultant are you?

  29. Consultant says:

    Did you Condo folks hear that out in Century Village, P Pines and Deerfield, and in Kings Point and Wynmoor. TERRY MILLER IS NOT JEWISH.
    Ms Miller running against Deluca THE HIGHEST RATED JUDGE showed you are not qualified to be a judge.

  30. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> Did you Condo folks hear that out in …

    I don’t think the CAPSLOCK was enough.

    Consider a bigger font size perhaps?

  31. John Henry says:

    So 20 years ago some slimeball divorce lawyer gets killed for acting like a douchebag and we’re suppossed to think his daughter is a good canidate for judge because of it???

    Thats kind of stretch.

  32. Consultant says:


    How’s that Chaz?

  33. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Irrelevant, bordering on ridiculous.

  34. Duke says:

    They never found the person who Kleinfeld hired to do the hit. A simple walk-thru of the building where the murder occurred would reveal that the old guy could never have pulled it off. He simply didn’t have the physical capabilities to make all the movements necessary to commit the murder and then escape. A much younger person was the one who pulled the trigger.