Judicial Candidates Have Foot-In-Mouth Disease


Do these judicial candidates realize what they are saying?

Candidate Debra Steinsaltz should have thought before she spoke at the second Broward Judicial Watch judicial forum on Thursday.

Answering a question, Steinsaltz told the forum audience that she once had a client who was a nanny accused of molesting the child of a major political insider.

During the preparation for the trial, Steinsaltz said she learned many things about the victim’s family and hinted the family had deep dark secrets which would cause them “embarrassment”.

Although she never mentioned the victim’s name, it was obvious to everybody I talked to at the forum that she was referring to the family of Ron Book. He lives in Plantation and is one of the state’s best known and most ubiquitous lobbyists.

Assistant Public Defender Steinsaltz defended, Waldina Flores, a nanny convicted of molesting Book’s daughter Lauren a decade ago.

I don’t know what the judicial code of ethics says about implying the family of a victim had something personal to hide. Probably nothing.

I do know that it was a foolish comment.

The comments might backfire politically.

A livid Book now says he is interested in helping Steinsaltz’s opponent, County Judge Peter Skolnick. Book could raise Skolnick thousands of dollars easily.

Barry Harris, Steinsaltz campaign consultant, had no comment.

Reached by telephone after the forum, Book said that Steinsaltz’s “ethics speak for themselves. This is typical of a (Broward Public Defenders) office that conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner throughout this entire case.”

Book said one assistant PD was so “unprofessional” that he was “forced to file a Bar grievance against him.”  The Assistant PD was taken off the Flores case.

Steinsaltz handled the second Broward case involving Flores.  After she was sent to prison for molesting Lauren Book, the former nanny violated the rules of her original sentence by writing the teenager.

She was prosecuted again and got 10 years for the letter writing added to her original 15-year sentence.

Book said that Steinsaltz was obviously “using the words of a pedophile” about his family in an attempt to “further her candidacy.”

“This is a woman who deficated and urinated on my child and then fled the state before she was caught.  If this candidate wants to use this case and her defense of this pedophile, I believe the voters can make their own decision.”

Book said he doesn’t know Skolnick from Å“Adam housecat” but he would be interested in helping his campaign. He also said he would review the tape of the judicial forum to see if there was “further action” he should take against Steinsaltz.


The second case of a judicial candidate’s foot in mouth disease comes from County Judge Elijah Williams.

Williams is heard on former Plantation Commmissioner Francis “Rico” Petrocelli website calling Jeb Bush “the greatest governor Florida has ever known.”

The judge has been around long enough to realize that Broward is the most Democratic county in Florida. Praising conservative Republican Jeb Bush will lose you votes.

Jews leave the door open on Passover for Elijah, who is supposed to show up someday and herald the coming of the Messiah.

These same Jews, largely fierce Democrats, could have a different reaction for  this Elijah when they find out he was praising Bush. They’ll shut the courthouse door after throwing him out.

The link is here.  Scroll down to the short video of Williams.


The biggest disadvantage that judicial candidates have is that most are not politicians.  They don’s know how to run a campaign and they don’s know how to spend their campaign money.

Take County Court Judges Jay Hurley and Linda Pratt.  They mailed expensive 16-page booklets on newsprint which cost a small fortune.  Pratt appears to have spent something in excess of $50,000 on the booklets.

I’ll clue Hurley and Pratt. Nobody is going to read those booklets.  Nobody. They were a total waste of money, with most surely ending up in the trash.

Meanwhile, Hurley had better start raising more money. He raised $84,593 and spent $76,331 already.


Frantz McLawrence, who is running for an open county court seat against two opponents, might just be the candidate to beat.

McLawrence has raised $43,923 in almost 600 individual contributions. Many of the contributors gave less than $100. It looks like a real grass roots effort.

Opponents Nate Klitsberg and Mardi Anne Cohen have combined donations of less than half of McLawrence. They also have less than a fifth of his individual donations.

Now all McLawrence has to do is get those contributors to the polls with their families.

32 Responses to “Judicial Candidates Have Foot-In-Mouth Disease”

  1. Floridan says:

    Again, why do we elect judges?

  2. HOA Treasurer says:

    We had a board meeting of our HOA and Judge williams “JEB Greatest Governor” speech was all the talk. Most of us were in shock. We were told by Howard Finklestein to protect the minority Judges and he’s right but not in this clown’s case.

  3. Elijah "JEB" Williams says:

    What are my Democartic Party leaders going to say about this?

    Mitch Ceaser, Diane Glasser, Howard Finklestein?

    And what about the Condo Palm cards?

    Century Village Pines, CV Deerfield , Kings Point?

  4. What's an FJ? says:

    McLawrence may claim to be a grass roots candidate but he’s just another “proud” Carribean man who’s just playing the name game the same as Breslaw/Jordan, just in reverse.

    What the hell is an FJ — he’s never introduced himself as FJ to anyone.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if all his advertising that goes out to the general public has “FJ McLawrence” plastered all over it but, oh surprise, no picture….But amazingly, his advertising in the Carribean and Black communities will have his head shot everywhere on them.

    Why? Because he wants to use the name game for his benefit.

    All well and good, but if he wins, it won’t be because he earned it on merit, but because he decided to be the black Freida Goldstein.

  5. judicial canons? says:

    been to all the forums. is it okay for a sittin judge to say that a partisan politician is the greatest governor ever. are not they supposed to not give opinion on politics?

    FROM BUDDY: That’s an interesting question. A lawyer more familiar with the Code of Judicial Ethics might be able to answer more accurately. If I was running a judicial campaign, I would tell my client not to praise either Jeb Bush or Lawton Chiles.

  6. the name is everything says:

    it’s funny to me how everyone criticizes the ‘name’ game. it’s politics people. the name game is what works. with the exception of the relatively few interested parties, EVERYONE else who votes looks at the ballot and picks a name. the reason i believe it’s so often criticized is because it’s a reality and those without the ‘name’ are scared shitless of that fact.

  7. Kevin says:


    I got three of those wasteful booklets from three different candidates. Did you notice that the last few pages in each were identical voter education stuff? Whoever convinced these political amateurs to buy this stuff is rolling in money right now and laughing all the way to the bank!!

  8. Garl says:

    Just what we need in Broward — an impossibly stupid, thoughtless, unprofessional judicial candidate lobbing ugly comments about an easily identified victim of molestation and her family. The impropriety of Debra Steinsaltz’s comments should offend, if not enrage, decent people everywhere. How long will it take for her to be censured? Even in the rough and tumble world of politics, this is WAY over the line. If she had an ounce of intelligence, she would pull out of the race and enroll in a course on ethics.

  9. courthouse insider says:

    “Again, why do we elect judges?”

    For the same reason we elect anyone: accountability. You think leaving it all to the Governor and/or the JNC would be SUCH a better alternative?

    FROM BUDDY: If the JNC consisted of more folks from the Bar and the community like it did before Jeb Bush, the answer would be yes.

  10. All in the famliy says:

    For those who were at NSU last night, you may have notices a middle aged gentleman with white hair wearing a Steinstaltz shirt, he is Assistant Public Defender Brian Reidy. Mr. Reidy dated or may be still dating Ms. Steinstaltz. To understand Ms. Steinstaltz is to be aware of some trouble Mr. Reidy had where he callously made fun of a minor victim of a sex crime…

    Broward judge and a veteran assistant public defender have apologized for jokes they made in the courtroom last Thursday in a case of a man accused of having sex with a teenage boy.

    Judge Jeffrey Levenson, 50, and Assistant Public Defender Brian Reidy, 49, apologized to their peers and others in the courthouse for their remarks.

    Levenson hasn’t faced any discipline, but Public Defender Howard Finkelstein docked Reidy one of his six weeks of vacation time.

    Here is what happened, according to the transcript:

    Levenson asked what position the boy played in football.

    The prosecutor, Adriana Alcalde, replied: “linebacker.”

    That prompted Reidy to joke: “Tight end.”

    Levenson then chimed in: “Wide receiver?”

    ”Judge, you know, I don’t think that that joke is even remotely funny,” Alcalde said.

    Mr. Reidy was also demoted for these comments. Steinstaltz and Reidy are two peas in a pod for using minor victime of sexual crimes for their own amusement and/or gain.

    Is this how Public Defenders are traind by Howard Finkelstein?

    The link below is to an article in The Miami Herald confirming elements of the above story about Reidy.

    The article did not confirm that Reidy was demoted. It also contained an apology from him for his remarks which he said “can only be interpreted as offensive.”

    “Though I never intended any harm by my remark, the level of insensitivity it demonstrated cannot be excused.”

    Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2007/11/broward-public.html#ixzz0vBhRH7Rj

  11. Skolnik Supporter says:

    Please support Judge Skolnik. He is a great judge. 20 years of helping this community. I have been told his opposition is a trust fund baby, she has gone bankrupt, and has no checking account. Ron Book should use whatever influence he has to support Skolnik and defeat Debra Steinsaltz. PLEASE VOTE SKOLNIK. PLEASE PASS THE WORD. Thanks.

  12. Mindy Solomon says:

    Speaking of name game… anyone remember HARVEY FORD? The County Judges give out an award every year in his name for special service.
    Harvey’s real name was something like Klein or Fein–a Jewish tag line. He changed it to Ford in the seventies in order to get elected. This stuff is not new to Broward County or politics in general. Anyone ever used an hispanic name in Dade county to get elected???
    I’m just lucky enough to be a real Solomon and be Jewish too!

    FROM BUDDY: I don’t believe this is from the real Mindy Solomon, the judicial candidate. So I edited out passages. If this person wants to send it again under a different name, feel free. But it is offensive to attribute your views to another person.

  13. To what's an fj? says:

    Stop hating. Jahra is young, handsome, smart, and successful. The women love him. The jewish women, black women, white women. He has this animal magnetism. I know, I’m one of his biggest fans! Damn he’s fine. I wouldn’t mind taking it from him under that black robe. 🙂
    But instead of hating, why not commend him for doing what no-one thought was possible in a judicial race – raise $50k from non-court-house-affiliated persons in the community.
    If I remember correctly, he stood up against a bad judge when no-one else had the balls to do so (ooh…now I have something else to think about), he wasn’t given a chance to make it this far, and now he’s not only the candidate to beat, but he’s raised more funds from more people than anyone else.
    So stop hating and start congratulating, before I get him to poke your lady! 🙂

  14. Kevin says:

    Remember that we as Florida voters DO have the ability to relinquish our power to elect Judicial candidates. As of the 2002 constitutional amendment, each county’s voters can opt in a referendum to allow the Gov to appoint our judges from a JNC list. But no county has done this so far.


  15. Harvey Ford Friend says:

    I was friends for many years with the late Judge Harvey Ford, including the period before he even was on the bench. There are some factual errors to the story, but are relatively minor. When Harvey Fishbein (that was the original name) was young, he and his siblings each changed their last names — but each chose different last names. Harvey selected the name “Ford” in an era where being Jewish could throw up many obstacles to a successful legal career in Florida (and well before he ran for Judge).

    In 1976, Harvey ran for an open seat on the Circuit Court bench. The other candidate for the seat was Miette Burnstein. It was the rising political power of the Jewish condos which doomed Harvey. He even put out pieces of him with his parents and siblings, showing all of their different names (Fishbein, Fish, Ford, etc) — but it didn’t help. Miette won the condos big and won the race.

    And just as there was (and still is) a period where having a Jewish name would win, Jewish lawyers should keep in mind the times shift with the demographics. Just look at Dade County in the 1960s, 1970s, and today and see what kind of names won in each era. The same types of prejudices/bias which sweeps you into office today could sweep you out of office tomorrow.

  16. If it was the real Mindy Solomon says:

    It would have started with Judy Stern told me to run against a black person because with a Jew name they are easy to beat. Even better I (Judy) will be running Olver Parker’s campaign so there we can duplicate our efforts to take out the black judges.

  17. Molly says:

    All in the family, is Jeffrey the same Judge Levenson formerly married to Jill Levenson, who argues for the rights of predators and offenders while being paid to counsel them?

  18. Broward Lawyer says:

    Here is some sage advice coined by Rahm Emmanuel for Judge Peter Skolnik:
    Don’t ever let a good crisis go to waste…

  19. Fort Myers in da housssss says:

    Steinsaltz is a typical pd who cant keep her mouth shut. Most of the pds I knew that were and are worth a damn had discretion and did not speak our of school. Skolnik better jump on this one…or wait for her next gem. What diseases does FJ have from his poking?

  20. sucmbag says:

    Skolnik’s thugs Mike Aturd Ahern was there last night, I saw him on the phone right after the event. Wanna bet that fat bastard was tatteling to Book?

  21. Truth says:

    Come on Buddy, tell the truth. Did you hear Debra’s statement or were you told about it by Skolnik’s two supporters. Why don’t you get the video of Debra’ speech and post it. Funny how neither the Sun Sentinel or the Daily Business Review heard it. Both were there and wrote stories even mentioning Debra by name.

    FROM BUDDY: I was at the forum. I personally heard the comment. I talked to Debra’s campaign manager about it at the forum.

    You have no idea what Toyna at the Sentinel or whoever was there for the Business Review heard. They chose not to mention it and I chose to do so. That’s why it is good that there are many sources of information on the Internet.

  22. No more bad judges says:

    I just read on Jabblog that Candidate John Fry was kicked off the Margate PD for kicking a minority in the head during a BS arrest.

    Is this what we need as our County Court Judge? A washout bully ex cop who got his undergraduate degree online at the University of Phoenix? Seriously…

    What we need is experience, even temperment, and someone who respects minorites.

    Heck, Fry does not even have a campaign website…what does he not want the voters to know about him? A lot apparently…

    Put Howes in the Courthouse


  23. Kevin says:

    Just got a mailer from Judge Carlos Rebollo yesterday where he did not once mention his first name. He was always referred to as “Judge Rebollo.” I assume that he is trying to tell some people he is Italian or something. This anti-Hispanic stuff (or even the perception of it by cared judges) has gone too far.


  24. Broward Attorney says:

    Rebollo is part Italian and mostly Spanish. What this name game is new? HaHa! Kevin, you’re either ignorant or just a hater.
    By the way, those booklets that you knocked got Mehrilee Ehrlich elected. I still have mine from Merilee.

    FROM BUDDY: Political observers believe got Merrille Ehrlich elected because: (1) She was a female running against two males. (2) She was a fresh face running against an ex-School Board member (Eichner) in the runoff. (3) She campaigned harder.

    Ehrlich had a different campaign manager, but the same direct mail firm.

    Ehrlich spent at least $70,000 on those brochures. I’ll take your word that they were the same.

    I have been around politics — both inside campaigns and reporting on campaigns — since the 1970s. Many believe a mailer like that is a waste of money. There are more effective ways to reach likely voters.

    Some political consultants will push the most costly methods — especially to unsophisticated judicial candidates — because they get a cut of every penny spent.

    The money could be better spent on cable TV or even billboards for name ID. Billboard, bus signs and even the bags that the newspaper is delivered in are not used enough.

    Just ask non-lawyers that you know. Did anybody read 16 pages of copy in those booklets? You could have reached all those folks at less expense on more expensive paper.

  25. the truth about Reidy says:

    Besides the below, I had heard that Reidy was knocked down from being a floater to just being a line PD in a Division after this.

    Buddy, Finkelstien comments on here a lot, what is his opinion of Ms. Steinstaltz exploiting his client’s cast for her own personal gain?

    [Broward Metro Edition]

    South Florida Sun – Sentinel – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
    Author: Tonya Alanez
    Date: Oct 24, 2007

    A veteran Broward assistant public defender is being punished for an inappropriate courtroom exchange with a judge about a teenage boy who had sex with an adult male.

    Brian Reidy, a supervisor in the Broward Public Defender’s Office, has written an open letter of apology, has been docked one week’s vacation and must address his colleagues at a staff meeting on Friday, he and his boss, Howard Finkelstein, said.

    Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson’s role in the exchange is “regrettable,” said Broward Chief Judge Victor Tobin. Levenson, 50, apologized for his conduct at an administrative judge’s meeting on Tuesday and “everybody is on notice that we expect the finest of conduct in our judges and our lawyers,” Tobin said.

    The remarks were made Thursday when the judge and attorneys were working out jury instructions. The case involved a 41-year-old man charged with four counts of unlawful sexual activity for having consensual sex with a 16-year-old football player.

    According to a transcript:

    Levenson asked what position the boy played.

    The prosecutor, Adriana Alcalde, said he was a linebacker.

    But Reidy replied: “Tight end.”

    And then Levenson weighed in: “Wide receiver?”

    Alcalde expressed her dismay: “Judge, you know, I don’t think that that joke is even remotely funny.”

    Levenson immediately apologized: “I take it back, it was politically incorrect, and I really apologize for that.”

    Public Defender Finkelstein said he is appalled that one of his staffers would engage in such inappropriate banter. As for the judge, Finkelstein said, he should be ashamed of himself for reducing a group of people “to nothing more than a punch line to a joke.”

    Tobin, the chief judge, took a softer stance. He said Levenson, one of the “hardest-working” and “most community-oriented” judges on the Broward bench, had been told “we need the utmost in professionalism and good conduct from the judges.”

    In an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Levenson acknowledged judges are “held to a higher standard” and he had crossed the line.

    “I should not have made that comment, it exhibited insensitivity,” he said. “I apologized at the time and I apologize now. I feel that I’m a fair, sensitive, neutral arbiter and I always strive to be.”

    Alcalde said she remains incensed by the comments. “It was said in a tone that there was no doubt that it was meant to poke fun at the victim.”

    Reidy, 49, said his transgression was out of character for a “tolerant, open-minded” person with 22 years in the public defender’s office.

    “I’m really disappointed in myself for what I said,” Reidy said. “This comment undermines a lot of what I think I’ve tried to accomplish in my career.

    “It certainly is not indicative of how I think as a person or how I believe as a person.”

  26. Garl says:

    In addition to being stupid, improper and unethical, it further occurs to me that the comments made by Ms. Steinsaltz at the recent judicial forum may, if she is elected, make her a candidate for discipline by the JQC, and possibly the Supreme Court itself. The more stringent rules to which judicial candidates are held have most certainly been broken by this candidate in this campaign, by discussing a years old case which has nothing to do with this election. It is shocking and must be acknowledged and dealt with by those whose charge it is to ensure the integrity of the legal profession.

  27. Kevin says:

    I did not say that I condone any of this name game stuff….. I’m just telling you what I got in the mail in case you missed it!

  28. When in Rome says:


    You failed to mention WHERE Elijah Williams made this remark about Jeb Bush. You notice the round of applause he got?

    It was at the Republican Executive Committee meeting.

    What was he supposed to say there? Bush is no good?

    I’d say it was a smart thing to say given the audience.

    FROM BUDDY: He didn’t have to say anything at all about Bush.

  29. G.B. says:


    Those “expensive 16-page booklets on newsprint which cost a small fortune” cost just over 6 cents each to print.

    Compare that to the typical 9 x 12 cards or 11 x 17 fold overs, which cost $.23 – $.25 cents each to print and they are an absolute bargain.

    While they are not for every candidate, it gives a Judicial candidate the opportunity to tell their story.

    As for your comment: “Nobody is going to read those booklets”:

    Tell that to Merrilee Ehrlich, who mailed 261,833 of them in 2008.

    Also, tell that to Arlene
    Simon Campione who mailed 200,918 of them in 2006.

    You can reach them at the courthouse, in their chambers.

    Somebody must have read those books Buddy.

    As for the comments about the last few pages of the booklets containing voter educational materials:
    There are over 100,000 new voters in Broward this year who have never voted on the DS200 machine.
    Many do not have access to computers to retrieve instructions from the SOE’s website.

    What is the problem with these candidates informing their constituents about the voting process?

    I believe you have said at one time or another that an educated voter is an informed voter.

    You cannot expect different results by doing the same old things Buddy.

    No one can prove to me that one piece of advertising won a race.
    Saying that is selling short the hard work the candidates did.

    I’m amazed that Merrilee Ehrlich mailed 261,833 of those booklets. There aren’t 261,000 voters in Broward interested enough in the judicial races to read those booklets.

    Yes, they may be cheaper than some other forms of mail. They look cheap!!!

    I say, mix it up. Sure, do targeted mail. But also do billboards, cable TV, Internet and even newspaper ads. Surveys have shown that most likely voters read newspapers or local news Internet sites. (Remember, I’m retired from the newspaper so I have no vested interest in recommending ads in that media.) Judicial candidate Olga Levine has been running front page ads in the Jewish Journal, which I suspect is a good use of her money.

    Don’t ignore the silly tchotchkes like pads and pencils. (Forget the sponges. Does a candidate want to hand out a sponge in an era when lots of voters think public officials are sponging off the public?) They are great for name ID. I’ve seen those tchotchkes lying around condominium apartments years after the campaign. I’m still using my Eric Marc Beller for judge pen! If the candidate wants to save money, buy them on the Internet rather than pay a consultant’s markup.

    The Internet is a great inexpensive way to target voters. Despite what G. B. wrote, a survey done for AARP in May of 2010 found the opposite of what he contends.

    The phone survey of 1,360 folks over 50 years of age found that only 17 percent do not use the Internet. The survey also found that 61 percent were comfortable with using the Internet.

    Candidates should try everything. Ask questions. Don’t blindly follow your political consultant because they have lost as many times as they won…but they won’t talk about those times.

  30. GB - Oh please says:

    G.B. is so clearly George Bograkos (get it, G.B.), the owner of Mastermailer, Inc., the company that printed and distributed those coloring books.

    How else would he know to the number how many pieces Judge Simon or Judge Ehrlich actually sent out.

    George, what a scam you are running this year. My home got 2 of those coloring books for each of these candidates because the pieces weren’t householded.

    Also, what the hell…You sent them out first class postage? What happened to bulk rate to save these candidates a few bucks.

    And yes, I would agree that sending out the political penny saver might make sense when the book is the ONLY one you are getting that year — it is different or unique.

    But when my mailbox is stuffed with Hurley, Williams and Pratt books within 48 hours (oh my god, can you get someone to spell check your mail in the future please!!), I’d suspect that most are going straight into the garbage.

    The only way these things would be worth a damn in 2010 is if you put coupons for Chinese restaurants on the outside cover.

  31. G.B. says:

    @ GB – Oh please

    Hey, at least I’m not one of those anonymous posters.

    The first class mailing pieces that you are referring to were undoubtedly mailed by the candidates themselves.

    We typically do not mail political mail with first class postage.

    Any duplicity that may have occurred are a result of two people in a household with different last names, misspelled SOE provided data or one piece mailed by us and another mailed by the candidate with a stamp over the permit imprint.

    We absolutely household every mailing list we use.

    I seriously doubt you received 2 IDENTICALLY ADDRESSED mailing pieces for each of these candidates.

    This isn’t my first Bar-B-Que.

    Love the reference to the Chinese food coupons though.

    Great alternative to special-interest financed campaigns.

    Political advertisement paid for and approved by Hunan Wok…NO MSG

  32. Molly says:

    needs to investiage the following possibly quite criminal behavior by Debbie Steinstalz and members of her family.

    Steinsaltz filed bankruptcy on 3 / 16/ 01 Federal Court Case 01-31261-SHF. She was a practicing attorney at the time. Debbie knew she coming into a 600k trust. She did not want to use her inheritance to payoff her debts. She devised an elaborate scheme to bellyup while hiding the trust fund money from the Federal Government. She defrauded all U.S. taxpayers by defaulting on her student loans which are backed by the United States Financial Reserve.

    Among the creditors holding the bag after being defrauded by Steinsaltz: 1) AT T Universal Card, 2) Banco Popular, 3) Bank of America, 4) Citibank, 5) Citibank USA, 6) Discover, 7) First USA Bank NA, 8) GE Capital Cons Cardco, 9) HRS USA Rooms to Go, 10) Hyundai Motor Finance, 11) Lane Bryant, 12) MBNA America, 13) Sallie Mae Servicing Center, 14) Seymour Judith Steinstalz, 15) WFNNB Avenue.

    Of course her mother Seymour Steinstalz was one of her creditors but really part of the scam to defraud taxpayers, default on her student loans, ext. Even though Steinstalz was an attorney, she gave POWER OF ATTORNEY to her mother in an effort to hide land and property during the bankruptcy.

    crimes against the U.S. Government have been comitted and are coming to light. Time for some responsible journalism and investigate.