Howard Vs. Mike Fight Rips Through Courthouse



State Attorney Mike Satz had his toughest opponent in years…but the challenger is not on the ballot.

It’s Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.

Finkelstein claims two problems with Satz:

  • Satz is too tough on minorities charged with minor crimes, while at the same time…
  • Satz is too easy on bad cops.

Those running against Satz are parroting the same line.

But only Finkelstein has been able to grab media attention for his complaints.

The reason?

The Public Defender is media savvy.

In addition, Finkelstein is TVs “Help Me Howard,”  a trusted face in the living rooms of many.

Trading Nasty Letters for Months

The State Attorney and Public Defender have been publicly feuding for months.  They rarely speak, preferring to put everything in writing.

Finkelstein’s letters have accused Satz of refusing to share so-called Brady material about cops. That is legalese for evidence that could influence the guilt or innocence of a defendant such as information that an arresting  police officer has a history of lying.

Finally on Oct. 17, Satz couldn’t take the drumbeat of criticism any longer.  In a letter to Finkelstein, Satz passionately refuted the public defender’s accusations.

Satz’s two-page letter ended like this:

“In closing, your apparent need to continue writing with unsupportable assertions regarding Brady, and expression of inherent distrust of all law enforcement is, in my opinion, clearly counterproductive to the purpose of achieving a just resolution to the cases at issue.  In the future, it would be helpful if you addressed your remarks to the specific issues at hand without resorting to unsupported, unjustified and inaccurate accusations against a profession in which the great majority of men and women are dedicated public servants to protect our community.”


This is downright fiery for the button-down Satz.  It is an indication of how much Finkelstein is getting under Satz’s skin.

Finkelstein fired back last week.  And WOW!!!

The letter is below.

So how does this sniping and counter-sniping influence the upcoming election?

Will It Sway Voters?

If I were Satz, I wouldn’t underestimate my telegenic critic from another part of the Courthouse.

“Finkelstein has the unique ability to concentrate media attention on Satz’s perceived failings,” said one political expert. “If he continues to pound away at the same points, it could become the truth in voters’ minds.”

Satz has a counter message.

He says flatly that he is not soft on bad cops.  He points to last week’s arrest of Fort Lauderdale officers, along with numerous other cases over the years.

Satz says he often doesn’t know about officers who have lied because no one told his office about it.

“We can’t go out an investigate every witness in every crime,” Satz says. “He (Finkelstein) wants us to do his work for him (and investigate every arresting officer in Broward).”

Clearly angered by Finkelstein’s charge that minorities are targeted by his office for unfair prosecutions, Satz says that he treats all accused of a crime the same.

“Is he (Finkelstein) saying we should stop enforcing the law on some groups of people.”

Satz says Finkelstein is blaming him for the economic and societal problems that cause some members of minority groups to break the law.

“He is asking me to solve some things that I can’t,” he says.

I believe that voters will decide on whether Satz deserves re-election based on whether they believe he has kept them safe in their homes and kept scumbags off their street corners.

But voters do want prosecutors to be fair.

Will Satz be believed when he says, “We prosecute those accused of crimes.  Whether you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, a police officer or anybody else, all are treated fairly and equally by this office…That’s the job?”

We’ll find out in next year’s election.

Meanwhile, courthouse observers will remain fascinated and amused by the Howard Versus Mike show.


Finkelstein’s latest letter to Satz (click on it to enlarge):

18 Responses to “Howard Vs. Mike Fight Rips Through Courthouse”

  1. Sunrise Observer says:

    “Treats everyone the same”?!?!?!?

    “Broward State’s Attorney Mike Satz dropped a drug possession charge for a partner at a big Fort Lauderdale law firm that contributed and did a fundraiser. The lawyer had four Schedule 1 drugs in his system and was violent when arrested…”

  2. Sunrise Observer says:

    “A poll of 600 likely Broward Country general election voters conducted between October 21st – October 23rd showed that only 38 percent of voters would vote for Satz regardless of who his opponent is. Furthermore, 62% of voters said that they would vote against Satz when they learned that he has been on the public payroll for 44 years.

    Fifty-eight percent agreed with the proposition that Satz has been lax on prosecuting local county corruption requiring Federal authorities to move on this front. […]“

  3. Privacy 101 says:

    We all know Satz is soft on corruption. Took the feds to act before he did anything on corruption of public officials.

  4. Where's Mikey? says:

    Satz and his boys may be active in low level criminal cases, but where has he been in public corruption? EXACTLY NOWHERE. Satz has been asleep at the switch for years on end. He got Eggeletion simply because the FBI investigators had to tap him on the shoulder to wake him up. He got Wasserstrom for what? Six months? Chaits with probation while Talabisco and Atkins Grad are still in the pipeline going exactly nowhere? Sultanoff?? Lieberman? Powers and Boccard? Team Satz is finishing the season in the cellar while Baseball teams FIRE managers for crappy records like his.


  5. LEO says:

    Finkelstein would like all the cops in handcuffs and the low lifes out on the street. He cares nothing about law enforcement officers.

    Mike Satz in 2012!

  6. Democratic Activist & Lawyer says:

    There is a difference between a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor.
    The criminal defense attorney’s client is the accused. In Howard’s case that is usually a member of the poverty class who is usually guilty. Howard gets most of his clients off on what is called “technicalities.”
    A prosecutor like Mike’s client is the people of Broward County.
    The only people talked about in the courthouse to run against Mike are criminal defense attorneys.
    I prefer a prosecutor who has spent a lifetime representing average people to an attorney who has spent a lifetime representing those accused of criminal acts.

  7. Broward Politico says:

    Blah, blah, blah…Mike Satz will be the Broward County State Attorney for as long as he wants and there ain’t a thing Howard Finkelstein can do about it.

  8. Howard will prevail says:

    You ask, will it sway voters? The answer is yes, IF there is a credible, worthy candidate against Satz, and IF Howard endorses that candidate and works for him or her, that will sway voters.

    Satz hasn’t campaigned in years, while the voters, especially condo voters, know his name, they are more familiar with Howard and Howard’s endorsement will definitely sway voters.

    Howard has been speaking to various clubs and groups over the years, plus he is on TV, so the voters know and like him. Satz is just a name in the paper, plus, he has zero personality, so having a candidate that is endorsed by and touted by Howard will go a long way towards defeating do-nothing Satz.

  9. Has been alert says:

    I hear Judy Stern (Howie’s BFF and enabler back in the day) has been calling the unions and other potential supporters on behalf of Chris Mancini.

    So Stern claims to be a soild democrat and is now looking to unseat a democrat. Interesting that Collins Forman and others on her group to protect incumbent Judges are supporting Satz. hmmmm

    Deperate times calls for desperate measures. How the mighty have fallen…

    2006: Lost Jim Scott
    2008; Lost Israel
    2010; Lost Wisher twice in Sunrise and her daughter was embarassed by Moritias. Of course who can forget her boy Angelo” don ask me about Judy” Castillo.

    Of course throw in other losers linked to her like Oliver Parker and the Seidmans.

  10. Broward lover says:

    Sunrise Observer, who is the lawyer you mention re: the dropped drug charges?

  11. Courthouse Observer says:

    Sunrise Observer, this is the second time you have made the accusation and it came from a pro-republican website with no details, and not identified. Don’t you think you should actually post something that has substance and provable? What were the circumstances of “dropping” the charges? When was it? What proof is there that Satz was involved? Did the Florida Bar take action? Details!

  12. Fair treatment says:


    Maybe you know and/or reported the facts of Howard’s arrest for ramming the back of a cop car with a briefcase full of drugs way back when.

    Did Satz charge Howard or was it the Feds?

    It seems Howard got to go to rehab and did minimal or no jail time for his crime? Is this true? If so why?

    From what I heard many prominent judges, attorneys, and others in the community used their influence on Howard’s behalf to make sure Howard avoided jail and able to regain his law license.

    Buddy, correct me if I am wrong but for a guy who appears to got quite a break from Satz/Feds, the Cops he ran into and others in law enforcement based on the help of his powerful friends, he seems like nothing but a user and fraud.

    Seems to me he has a real short memory considering if it wasnt for his having friends in the right places in the courts and law enforcement he could have been down and out right now.


    You asked me some questions and I’ll try to answer them.

    Finkelstein was a private attorney when his white Cadallac ran into a Broward Sheriff Deputy’s patrol car in July 1987. He failed a roadside test and the cops found prescription narcotics, a vial with cocaine residue and a six-inch pipe stuffed under the front seat.

    He pleaded guilty to three felony drug charges and driving under the influence.

    Indeed your memory is good. Finkelstein had four circuit court judges and 75 lawyers and former clients write letters of support for him.

    Regardless, he received five years probation — the maximum punishment under state guidelines. I don’t believe that sentence was unusual for someone with no record who had voluntarily entered a drug program before sentencing.

    I think Howard is a sterling example of someone who has gotten his life back after addiction. His major successes — the TV gig and being elected Broward Public Defender — came since he got clean. He can serve as a role model for those lost to drugs or/and alcohol.

    I don’t think Howard’s history has anything to do with his views about Satz and his office. As an article from the time of his arrest stated: “If there was a controversial issue at stake, chances were that Finkelstein was at its forefront.

    He defeated Fort Lauderdale’s public drinking ordinance. He fought to legalize prostitution, nude dancing in bars, sales of X-rated videos, sleeping on the beach, smoking marijuana and shooting heroin. Most recently, he won the acquittals of two Seminole Indians charged with poaching an alligator, claiming they acted in self-defense.”

    He is the same Howard today that I first met as an outspoken junior assistant public defender in the 1970s — fighting for the Constitution and for the less fortunate in society.

    I won’t take sides in his fight with Mike Satz. I can say they are both honorable and believe in their own positions.

  13. It is all inside baseball says:

    Blah freak’n blah.
    This is all inside baseball.
    No one more than two blocks from the court house is going to give a flying omelet about the matters brought up by the Public Defender.
    The voters will only care about two things:
    1. Is Satz honest (not corrupt)?; and
    2, Is Satz tough on crime?
    That is IT. Period.
    Satz will waltz into another term.
    Take it to the bank.

  14. Broward Politico says:

    Buddy – I once spoke with someone involved in prosecutig the case. My understanding was the Howard had trafficking amounts of various drugs, which would have subjected him to minimun mandatory prison sentence. I thought he hit a Plantation PD car not BSO. Also judges are prohibited from writing letters. They can only testify in court after being subpoenaed, a recent example was Ilona Holmes for Ken Jenne. Lastly, under the 1987 Florida Sentencing Guidelines, forget the trafficking charges, Howard could have gotten up to 22 months in prison followed by 3 years probation.
    I write this to set the record straight. If I’m wrong I’m wrong.

  15. To the sunrise observer says:

    Dear sunrise observer: in 2005 I handled a prosecution for DUI against a big politico in Broward. This politician for the democratic party and a partner in a well known and established law firm was given no special treatment at all. Satz’s office filed the charges and Satz knew the defendant and knew of his political power. I did my job handling the case. The media may have picked this up or not…. But it is an example of the state attorney prosecuting a politician and powerful attorney. Sorry no names.

  16. Wranglr says:

    Satz will lose. Get the message out. He’s been there too long.

  17. A Problem says:

    Howard Finkelstein has become a problem to the balance of power among the various components of the judicial system that guarantees fair trials. He wants to control them all!
    First he tried to control the judiciary through many challenges to incumbent judges. He said it was not him, but nobody believes him, especially since many challengers worked for him. Now he is trying to get rid of the state attorney and put a defense lawyer in the spot a prosecutor should serve.
    Nobody named Help me Howard king!

  18. Charles Trincali says:

    Howard and Satz both must go! When the truth about my recent conviction hits the media, trust me, they both will be sued, and fired!

    Charged with a felony for casing a check that a client admitted to writing it out to me and signing it, the lied and told the police that i stole it!
    Satz waited 11 months and one week to charge me, he had one year to do so.

    The public defender actually convicted me! After working on my case for 4 and a half years. Both the Satz’prosecutors and Finkelsteins defenders are so corrupt, there are no words to describe what they have done to my and my family’s life……This will hit the media like a lighting bolt. HELP YOU HOWARD! SATZ, IT IS TIME TO LEAVE THE BUILDING!