Judge Carlos A. Rodriguez Writes About His Life & The Upcoming Campaign



Buddy, Thank you for the accurate report you posted.

But, as Al Schreiber used to tell me when I worked for him as a Chief Assistant, the most important thing about any publicity, good or bad, is to have your name spelled correctly. Rodriguez is spelled with a “g not a “q.

(Buddy: Sorry for the typo. It’s been corrected.)

I don’t disagree that much has been made of the Hispanic name of judicial candidates who lost in the last election. I look at it as a challenge to educate the voters to the fact that I am not a “hack. Some people may think that because your name is “Carlos you are automatically labeled a “hack or maybe a “carpetbagger from out of county. Meet me or appear in any capacity in my courtroom, 5750, and I will show you that is not the case.

I moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1962. At the age of 5, I left Cuba for the U.S. When Castro brought in the MIGS and Russian advisors so he could fly those in addition to the Turboprop commercial which he flew for Cubana airlines, my dad left everything behind to get me to safety and away from communism. We first sought political asylum then in 1967 I became an American citizen.

I grew up here in Ft. Lauderdale. I attended Northside Elementary, Sunrise Middle and Ft. Lauderdale High schools, graduating in the top 10 students in a class of 500 and as President of Honor Society. Post school, I have lived and worked in Ft. Lauderdale my entire adult life. My dad, Urbano, ran the downtown YMCA aquatics programs and owned and operated a SCUBA business in Ft. Lauderdale, DIVE’N SALES, and while attending college and law school, I helped work and teach SCUBA as a NAUI/PADI instructor. I worked in the electronics department at Searstown, Ft. Lauderdale for one Herman Von der Gruen, and at one point, also worked as a barback for the Woody Woodbury show on the beach.

Before taking the bench, my legal career included 3 years as a Broward Assistant Public Defender then 2 years as a Chief Assistant Public Defender and thereafter, private practice in Ft. Lauderdale for 23 years. First I worked with the Fazio, Dawson firm and later in my own firm. I am one of the few judges that as a lawyer handled and tried complicated criminal cases, including 1st degree murder, and complicated civil cases, including malpractice and commercial litigation.

I attended Furman University, in Greenville, South Carolina, working and on a partial academic scholarship. I am not sure I was the first Cuban born student at Furman, but I can tell you that my name was not a problem then and is not a problem now. I was elected Sophomore Class President and graduated Magna Cum Laude, achieving membership in Phi Beta Kappa. I earned my law degree from University of Florida. After I entered private practice, I became Florida Bar Board Certified in Civil Trial and a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated attorney.

I know how difficult it is to inform the public about a judge’s qualifications. The bottom line is that a judge’s qualifications are more important than any “Name Game that pits a person’s name, not their qualifications, in a judicial election.

There are all kinds of rumors around the courthouse about the upcoming judicial election. Who cares, just make sure you spell my name right!

33 Responses to “Judge Carlos A. Rodriguez Writes About His Life & The Upcoming Campaign”

  1. Carlos is a class act says:

    Thanks for the background.
    Its unfortunate that one post on here highlighted your ethnic background while failing to mention your great resume.
    Only the mean-spirited political types would refer to you as a hack.
    Good luck.
    Hi M.A.!

  2. Sam Fields says:

    I hardily endorse Carlos for election.

    I have known him for 25 years and known him to a great lawyer and a great person.

    My wife and I took his dive class and had many enjoyable days at sea exploring the part of Florida that only SCUBA can show you.

    Tne last election was a black mark on our coummunity when it strongly appears that many voters relied soley on name ethnicity.

    If anyone votes against him be cause of his ethnicity they hurt the Bench and our community.

  3. @Sam says:

    So the election of Bernie Bober, a dedicated public servant with approximately 25 years of experience as a trial attorney, was a “black mark”?

    It certainly was an upgrade over the pompous windbag/prosecutor in a robe that was Pedro Dijols.

    Or did your criminal practice not bring you into that courtroom while Pedro was on the bench. This guy put in for county was after doing a comedy routine in front of Jeb Bush’s JNC (at which he was asked to do impressions of various officials including parody of one of our few black judges), got sent up for Circuit.

  4. The Truth says:

    I attended Furman University, in Greenville, South Carolina, working and on a partial academic scholarship. I am not sure I was the first Cuban born student at Furman, but I can tell you that my name was not a problem then and is not a problem now.

    Look your Honor. You live in fantasyland. Your conservative ideology leaks from every sentence. You are qualified and you know that doesn’t mean a thing! Judge Julio wasn’t qualified? It seems and you can correct me, that you are another conservative “I want to be white” Hispanic who would love it if he could be seen as more caucasian than Cuban. Oh but that pesky last name. The sad thing is that you deserve to be on the bench but you’ll play it like Julio and Pedro and hire a Jewish Campaign manager and give money off report to jewish leaders and spurn your ethnicity and then like avalos they will stab you in the back and you will lose.

    BTW Pedro not only ran away from his “hispanicness”, he didn’t even want to admit he was…ugh…BLACK.

  5. Why Some Oppose Merit Appointment says:

    Some oppose merit appointment of judges even though this is the best way to secure independence and talent on the bench. The resons they most often give involve upholding democracy. But their real reason is they don’t really want there to be any independent local judges. They want to be able to make phone calls to judges when they want to influence judicial outcomes. How democratic is that?

    Stop electing judges and appoint them. They are not like electing a congressman or a county or city leader. That’s why the US Constitution requires federal judges to be appointed instead of elected. This way they don’t have to raise money from lawyers, who have a clear stake in the outcome of judge races.

    Electing judges is unethical, ineffective, people don’t get to learn enough about them to make reasoned decisions, and that’s why it promotes racism — they have nothing more to go on than a last name. Merit appointment is the only answer to these problems, it is time for change to that method.

  6. Lina says:

    @Bober supporter

    Judges Jeff Levenson and Mel Grossman were both up in 2008.
    Judge Levenson, as was reported in the media, made an extremely insensitve remark against a sexual battery victim. Why didn’t Bernie run against Judge Levenson? Judge Grossman, as anyone who has appeared before him will tell you, doesn’t have one ounce of judidcial temperament. Why didn’t Bernie run against him? I could go on with Judges with Jewish surnames up in 2008 that Bober Bernie didn’t run against.
    Bernie Bober ran against Pedro because he is black and has an hispanic name. Bober saw Pedro as an easy mark.
    Bober was a political oppurtunist.
    What’s Bernie’s response? It’s a free country and he can run against whoever he wants? I would agree with that, but that shows me Bober lacks honesty and integrity and perhaps not so qualified to be a judge.

  7. Mister Courthouse says:

    Judge Carlos Rodriguez is the type of judge we need more of. He’s fair and his rulings make sense, which is more than I can say for many of the judges in Broward.

  8. Who can't handle the Truth? says:

    Who can’t handle the Truth….I can’t handle your truth and your attacking comments of Judge Rodriguez. I’m not sure who you are but I’m sure I can pick you out at the drycleaner; picking up your oh so white and pointy startched hat and robe? Burn any crosses lately? In one entry alone you seem to have issues with Jews, hispanics, and blacks -and you dare post comments not against the credentials but against the race? Is it a fantasy land that YOU live in or perhaps a “fatherland” of days gone by. Your ignorance betrays you.

    Don’t forget the extra starch.

  9. JAABlaw says:

    Dear Judge Rodriguez

    I thought the blog article you wrote was very informative. I am surprised you did not ask us a Jaablog to post something from you considering we have the most readership in local legal community.

    As everyone knows Jaablog has been the driving force in cleaning up the Broward Judiciary. We think good Judges such as yourself, Judge Seidman and Judge Hurley need to be reelected. You are a shining example of the benefits of having minorities on the bench.

    In order to secure your reelection we implore you to buck the current system created by Mike Satz which sends black to prison at disproportionate rates. We need Judges that will not be a rubber stamp for Satz and are willing to give the poor, sick drug addicts in this community a chance to clean up and not just sit in prison.

    To the previous person who posted about the election of Judge Bober, I respectfully disagree, Judge Bober ran against a bad judge and has been a treasured asset to the wasteland that is the Broward Judciary. I tip my cap to Judge Bober and Kevin Kulik for running a winning campaign against all the odds. My best advice to you Judge Rodriguez would be to take the wise counsel of Kevin Kulik as Judges Hurley and Seidman have so you can have the best show for reelection.

    If you want to be a part of the solution in cleaning up the cesspool that is the Broward Judiciary check out Jaablog at:


  10. Sam Fields says:

    Dear @Sam
    Are you denying that people with no knowledge but the candidate’s name vote based on ethnicity?
    I have known Bernie for 25 years(he and I, along with Carlos, were Public Defenders in the early 1980’s. He has been a good judge.

    Bernie was born in Cuba.
    Nevertheless,in case you did not know it the name “Bober” is not Hispanic.

    Ethnic name voting cuts both ways. In Dade a Hispanic name is a plus. In Broward it is a negative.

    How else can you explain the loss of Julio Gonzales one of the best judges I have ever been before. Great temperment and smart as a whip.

  11. Resident says:

    Dear Lina,

    I hate to say you are wrong, but your quote: “Judge Grossman, as anyone who has appeared before him will tell you, doesn’t have one ounce of judidcial temperament.” is flat out wrong.

    I have appeared in front of Judge Grossman numerous times over the years, and never had a single problem with his judicial temperament to me, to opposing counsel, or to anyone in the courtroom while I was present.

    Maybe you’re just not that good an attorney and its you with the problem.

  12. Linda says:

    I couldnt agree more with you. Bober could have picked many of the judges that had made insensitive remarks and were all over the media… but he chose Pedro. It is even sader because he is hispanic himself, and still he used peoples prejudices against hispanics to benefit himself.

  13. duh says:

    I guess Bober was not helped by the fact that his brother was the mayor of Hollywood who is very popular.

    Bernie went up before the JNC a few times and never made it to an interview while Pedro because of his Republican connections became judge. So I guess it all washes out in the end, when the people have their say.

  14. Barry Butin says:

    Let me preface this with saying Carlos Rodriguez is a friend and was my mentor at the Public Defender’s Office. You could not get a more qualified lawyer to serve as a judge for this community. The governor made an excellent selection for the bench.

  15. Lina says:

    Dear Resident aka judge Grossman supporter.
    Everyone has their supporters, but the vast majority of attorneys, litigants, court personel, or just plain visiters of judge Grossman’s courtroom, will tell that Grossman is unnecessarily rude and nasty.
    And, because of this, judge Grossman has a reputation within the legal community for seriously lacking judicial temperament. Only a Grossman supporter would disagree with that. Everyone has their supporters.

  16. Lina says:

    Other judges Bernie Bober could have run against (but instead picked PEDRO) Already mention judges Grossman and Levenson. There’s more:
    Judges Frusciante, Mike Orlando, Jeff Streitfeld, Patti Henning, Vic Tobin, Tom Lynch, John Bowman, David Krathen, Dale Cohen, Charlie Greene who made derogatory “NHI” comment about a crime victim, Andy Seigel,John Murphy, Marc Gold (a defense attorney in robes), Susan Aramony,Fred Horowitz, Mike Kaplan, Marty Bidwell, Jack Tuter.
    WHY DIDN’T BERNIE RUN AGAINST ANYONE OF THEM? Because they are not black and don’t have a name like PEDRO.

  17. Dear Pedro's Wife... says:

    Its over, move on.

    To be honest, considering last year was the year of the jewish female candidate, the primary was going to be between Bernie and Mardi, with Mardi probably being the winner had not she been screwed in court. Remember Pedro came in 3rd.

  18. Lina says:

    This isn’t anyone associated with Pedro. Just someone trying to point out political oppurtunism and lack of honesty and integrity by Bernie Bober.

  19. JAABlog Promoting Kulik says:

    JAABlog’s comment above has sunken to a new low of promoting Kevin Kulik at a campaign consultant. Kulik is not the second coming of Christ, even at the courthouse. There are many campaign consultants who could win a race with Judge Rodriguez. One is Judy Stern. The comment almost sounds like a threat coming from a fan of Kulik or Kulik himself.

  20. Dear Pedro's Wife... says:

    Show some honesty and integrity and just say you are a friend or family member of Pedro. Who cares? It would be expected for someone with ties to him would stand up for him. No crime in it. Otherwise you must be one of the 432 people who voted for Pedro who thought he was the guy in Napoleon Dynamite.

    As to your other claims…

    1) political opportunism… that is the dumbest thing I have heard. Was Pedro not being a political opportunist by using his ties to the Gov to get appointed? Success comes to those who take risks and seize the opportunities put before them. Bernie had the luxury of sharing the name with a very popular Mayor and hired a good campaign guy like Jack Schriffel. Pedro was with Dave Brown who lost all but one of his races. We have elections so people can make a choice and their choice was Bober. Heck Pedro should have never been on the November ballot to begin with since he came in third.

    2) lack of honesty and integrity

    I heard Bernie speak many nights and the first thing he told people was that his family came here from Cuba and he was Cuban. If you want to say the voters voted based on race or religion and not merit, fine but there is nothing that shows Bernie was dishonest etc.

  21. JAAB Support says:

    Disturbing to see JAAB, which promotes itself as trying to bring change to the Courthouse, openly supporting Lee Jay Seidman.

    This is a judge who acts like an INS officer despite law to the contrary, lies to the JNC to get promoted, slams minority defendants right and left, and yet JAAB supports him because he throws them a bone every now and then.

    JAAB should be ashamed to openly support him. And I’m shocked if Judge Rodriguez wants to align himself with an organiation that supports an anti-hispanic militant like Seidman.

    If Judge Rodriguez doesn’t respond, then we’ll know.

  22. Bernie's Story says:

    I’d like to chime in on what 12:35 wrote. At no time did Bernie ever hide from the predominantly Jewish voters in West Broward that he was Cuban.

    Every time he spoke, he talked about how his parents fled Castro’s Cuba to a better life here in the States. It certainly didn’t hurt that his family are Jews from Cuba, but to say he hid his Hispanic background is a lie. He mentioned it every time he talked.

    As for political opportunism, every elected official seizes opportunities. Judge Bober had a choice of a variety of judges, very true, but to say that Pedro wasn’t at the bottom of the heap in terms of quality is a fabrication. Bernie chose to run against a lousy judge who was a Bush appointee who also happened to have a hispanic last name. He should never have to apologize for hitting the Trifecta.

  23. Lina says:

    Dear Bernie Bober,

    1. There were 22 incumbent judges up for election in 2008. You ran against Pedro because he was black and his name was Pedro.
    2. You lied by telling people that that was not the reason you ran against Pedro.
    3. You got lucky. Pedro and Mardi were very close. Mardi got screwed by the Supervisor of Elecrtions, otherwise you would have lost to Mardi.
    4. Your lack of integrity is blatant and on the bench you bend over backards for the defense and are a defense attorney and public defender hack.
    5. In hindsight I wish Mardi would have been givena a fair shot and beaten you.
    6. You are not Cuban. You were born there but your family is Jewish Russian.
    7. Shame on you for what Buddy Nevins has pointed out is a foul practice. Running against a judge because of the “Name Game.”

  24. reality check says:

    Take a look at the “community suport” for Pedro. That guy cant even get his friends to put up $ for a worthy charity. Loser


  25. boobober says:

    I have no respect for Bernie Bober- and I have no relation at all to Dijols. I just feel that the poster hit the right marks with what was said. Bober just went after Pedro because he was hispanic and black… if not then why didnt he go after Levenson or some of the other judges that were all over the news for their terrible behavior? Because Bober knew his name could beat Pedro’s. Deny it all you want Bober- but everyone knows the truth and when you did this you might have gained a judgeship but you lost your integrity and the respect of many of your peers.

  26. Tic Toc says:

    Though Dade county will continue to vote based on ethnic politics for the foreseeable future, I really believe that the jewish female advantage will only last a few more years.
    All of those people in Century Village, Wynmoor, etc, will be dead in 10 years. The problem for the Jewish candidates is that they are not being replaced by other Jews from New York. There is an end game to all of this.
    There may be a controlling ethnic group that gets people elected in the future by I have a strong feeling it isn’t going to be from condos filled with older Jewish voters.

    FROM BUDDY: Dead in 10 years?
    My wife inherited a unit in Century Village/Pines so I am very familiar with that complex. It appears to me that large numbes of older Cuban-Americans, many from Miami, are moving in.
    I agree with Tic Toc, but disagree on the time frame. I think the demonetization of Hispanics in elections are coming to an end quicker than many of the “political experts” believe.

  27. Howard Is The Evil says:

    It doesn’t matter what anybody says here until we know where is HOward. “Help Me Get A Snort” Howard has a death grip on the judiciary. If you don’t get his approvial, he gets the defense lawyers against you. Howard is the problem. Anybody interesting in running for PD in 2012?

  28. Jaablaw says:

    Howard is the best and has been a great friend and supporter of the Jaablog movement. Like us at Jaablog, Howard is committed to cleaning the cesspool of the Broward Judiciary which sends blacks to prison at a higher rate then any other county in Broward.

    Judge Bober has been a true asset to the bench. Jaablog and many others tried to let Judge Dijoles understand his short comings on the bench and all he did was ignore us. We applaud Kevin Kulik and Judge Bober for having the guts to fight the trend of not opposing incumbents.

    For those who want to know the real truth about the injustices in the Broward Judiciary check us out at Jaablog:


  29. The Long Black Robe (ret.) says:

    Nasty. Nasty. Nasty.
    The truth is that Judge Rodriguez is a fine justice who should get relected. As one who has run for judge, it isn’t as easy as legal ability. Judge Rodriguez needs to campaign among all types of people, many of them know nothing about the courts. He must keep his mouth shut despite a desire to lash out at the ignorance he hears. In the end, I hope he wins.

  30. JJ says:

    Judge Rodriguez
    Academia and experience are important. However they are not the only standards by which someone in your position will be measured. Just as important to voters and potential supporters is the moral standards by which you live your life. I am disappointed to learn you have engaged in adulterous relationship. As a Judge you are and should be held to a higher standard. As voters we have all seen the lengths at which an individual will go to protect an ill advised relationship. Many of these examples have recently made headlines. I would be interested in your comments why poor judgment at a personal level would not affect you on the bench

  31. al rothstein says:

    Carlos Rodriguez was my attorney for six years and fought Unum Provident Insurance Company and its bevy of lawyers who attempted to deny my rightful claim. Unum tried every dirty trick in the book but Carlos, quite simply, ate their lunch. He exhibited a fertile, creative, and extremely aggressive mind. Unum finally gave in knowing they were no match for Carlos who was a virtual bulldog. I believe Carlos enjoys being challenged and no matter how accomplished he might be he still wants to take his performance to a higher level. This is the kind of man who belongs on the bench.
    It’s not a perfect world and neither is Carlos or any of us. But I can tell you this, if all lawyers were measured by Carlos’ standards the legal profession would be held in considerably higher esteem. This is a special man and anyone attempting to vilify him on a personal level is doing so because Carlos cannot be challenged on his judicial record or his work ethic. He deserves re-election.

  32. Lloyd Brown says:

    As a defendant in this judges courtroom I must say he he far most the most fair judge i have seen and he will make sure that the proper punishment for criminals is given…Ask me I know a honorable man he is

  33. Roberto says:

    Mr Rodriguez, If you are so kind, I have a question for you: Are you a member of The Bohemian Grove Club?