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<v announcer>This program was produced with support from the Florida Department of Education. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Courtrooms like this are the legal battlegrounds of our judicial system. <v narrator: Keith Miles>It's where cases are won or lost every day. <v narrator: Keith Miles>It's also where two South Florida legal mavericks are fighting for their reputations and <v narrator: Keith Miles>the values they believe in. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Alcee Hastings is a federal district judge acquitted of bribery charges in 1983 <v narrator: Keith Miles>and faces possible impeachment in Congress. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Miami lawyer Ellis Rubin spent a month in jail for disobeying a court order, while both <v narrator: Keith Miles>are members of the judicial fraternity. Each marches to the beat of his own drum. <v Speaker>[intro music playing] <v Ted Klein>Ellis is basically a good lawyer with a lot of ability, but he's <v Ted Klein>a grandstander.
<v David Waksman>He's up there. You see his face on TV quite often. <v David Waksman>He's in the newspapers quite a bit. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Lawyers David Waksman and Ted Klein talking about one of the most controversial legal <v narrator: Keith Miles>personalities in South Florida. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Ellis Rubin, Esquire, who the critics call a legal showboat. <v Ellis Rubin>Let those who say that spend one hour in the Dade County jail, <v Ellis Rubin>let them eat spaghetti with a spoon for thirty seven days, let them <v Ellis Rubin>get their fingerprints taken in strip searches and catch pneumonia and <v Ellis Rubin>wash out toilet bowls, and make hospital corners and mop floors <v Ellis Rubin>and be threatened. <v Ellis Rubin>Let them go through that being paraded in handcuffs in the very courthouse that you <v Ellis Rubin>practice law in. <v Ellis Rubin>Let the critics try that for 20 minutes and then there won't be any more critics. <v Ellis Rubin>To hell with the critics. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Ellis Rubin is regarded by most of his peers as atypical because of his high profile <v narrator: Keith Miles>cases. He welcomes the spotlight, even invites the media to his fashionable <v narrator: Keith Miles>Jockey Club, home to document a daily exercise regimen capped off by swimming
<v narrator: Keith Miles>a few laps and a few moments of meditation, a quiet and relaxing start <v narrator: Keith Miles>to a day that can be and usually is, anything but. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Ellis Rubin is one of Florida's most flamboyant lawyers. <v narrator: Keith Miles>But he sees himself differently. <v Ellis Rubin>I don't have time to answer the critics. <v Ellis Rubin>I'm too busy practicing law, representing people. <v narrator: Keith Miles>And that's how the 62 year old attorney earns his living and the labels. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Ellis Rubin grew up in Syracuse, New York, studied engineering at Holy Cross College <v narrator: Keith Miles>during World War Two, graduated from the University of Miami Law School after <v narrator: Keith Miles>coming south to a warmer climate, and was sworn in as a member of the Florida Bar <v narrator: Keith Miles>in 1951. <v Ellis Rubin>And I knew from my 21st birthday that I was going to be the best trial lawyer <v Ellis Rubin>that I could possibly be and I was going to be a maverick. <v narrator: Keith Miles>There are fond memories of his New York childhood during an era that Rubin calls old <v narrator: Keith Miles>fashioned America. An era when principles meant something. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He says he's tried to instill those traditional values in his children.
<v narrator: Keith Miles>Both of his sons followed his legal footsteps, and are lawyers. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Daughter, Peri Newman, is the office manager of his Rubin Law Center. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>There's never a dull moment. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>Even though it is working for my father, we get along very, very well. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>We have some management differences. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>But he's he's the boss. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>He's not necessarily the manager. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>He leaves it up to me. And it's very exciting and it's <v Peri Rubin-Newman>very unusual because of the clientele that, that do make inquiries into the <v Peri Rubin-Newman>office. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Rubin's fame is only partially self-generating. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Much of his notoriety comes from the people he defends and his courtroom tactics. <v narrator: Keith Miles>In 1977, he represented Ronnie Zamora, a Miami teenager <v narrator: Keith Miles>who murdered a neighbor. Rubin contends the youth was intoxicated by violent <v narrator: Keith Miles>television programs. Rubin defended Watergate burglar Bernard Barker in <v narrator: Keith Miles>South Florida's version of a vigilante and even a man who describes himself <v narrator: Keith Miles>as the son of God. <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>My good works. Being loved by the masses of the people
<v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>becomes the news. <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>Therefore, I am the news. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Leader of the white robe, self-described tribe of Hebrew, Israelite Yahweh Ben Yaweh, <v narrator: Keith Miles>also known as Hulon Mitchell Junior, has led the religious sect in assembling a five <v narrator: Keith Miles>million dollar real estate portfolio. <v narrator: Keith Miles>It was an apartment acquisition in Opa Locka that brought the Yahwehs and Rubin together. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Rubin has since dropped the case of a sect member charged with two counts of murder, but <v narrator: Keith Miles>still advises the Yahwehs. <v Ellis Rubin>When a Catholic is accused individually of a crime. <v Ellis Rubin>You don't indict Catholicism and you don't indict the pope. <v Ellis Rubin>I think that Yahweh Ben Yahweh is in the same position. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Some say the Yahwehs not only needed a lawyer, but a public relations expert as <v narrator: Keith Miles>well. Yahweh Ben Yahweh says the Sect needed Ellis Rubin. <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>Oh, he and he and I are divine encounter. <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>Yahweh chose Ellis Rubin to represent us and <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>his style fits
<v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>my style in terms of what needs to be presented to the public. <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>The truth. You see, we were being <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>presented to the public incorrectly, and <v Yahweh Ben Yahweh>certainly that has been corrected and that's good. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Rubin also came to the aid of a man described as South Florida's version of Bernard <v narrator: Keith Miles>Getz. Prentice Rasheed was thrust into the news after a number of burglaries <v narrator: Keith Miles>to his Liberty City store. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Rashid pleaded unsuccessfully to county officials for more protection until finally <v narrator: Keith Miles>he wired a metal grid to an electrical outlet and electrocuted a burglar. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Today, Rasheed says, Rubin and the publicity he brought the case are responsible <v narrator: Keith Miles>for his freedom. <v Prentice Rasheed>I'm satisfied that the way that he represented my case and <v Prentice Rasheed>I don't have no I don't have anything in my notebook that I say <v Prentice Rasheed>I would have done different. I would encourage him. <v Prentice Rasheed>I wish he had did something different, I don't have anything like that. <v Prentice Rasheed>Publicity is is- if that is part of his method and is
<v Prentice Rasheed>uh, is a, is a, as an and as an American, it's not un-American. <v Prentice Rasheed>So I will say anybody, if you've got anything to say, you'll get all the publicity you <v Prentice Rasheed>can get. I think that's the American way. <v Prentice Rasheed>Why should you get in a hole and become a hermit? <v Prentice Rasheed>When you can go out and become maybe you can become the governor. <v Prentice Rasheed>Some other. Some other kind of way, because he get- we enough for what he has done as far <v Prentice Rasheed>as it's for the good. Maybe some people don't like that. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Ellis Rubin cases often make newspaper headlines and highlight the 6:00 and 11:00 news. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Some lawyers, like Ron Goralnick, think using the media is an individual lawyer's <v narrator: Keith Miles>decision. <v Ron Guralnick>I think that Mr. Rubin uses the media regarding <v Ron Guralnick>the cases that he tries. <v Ron Guralnick>I think he does it in an attempt to be to the advantage <v Ron Guralnick>of his client. Sometimes it may not be. <v Ron Guralnick>And sometimes it is to the advantage of his client. <v Ron Guralnick>But it's an independent judgment call that we all have to make. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Others, like Ted Klein, say involving the media most often hurts the case.
<v Ted Klein>And I think he could do a lot better for his client if he would stick to the law <v Ted Klein>and just apply his natural ability, which <v Ted Klein>he does have. And just do what needs to be done on behalf of the client <v Ted Klein>rather than to play to the media. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Journalists respond to Ellis Rubin because they say he gives great quotes, according to <v narrator: Keith Miles>Robert Gilmartin of NBC affiliate WSVN in Miami. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Unlike many in the legal profession, Rubin doesn't shy away from a microphone. <v Robert Gilmartin>He's better than a lot of prosecutors, that's for sure. <v Robert Gilmartin>I was just thinking about the advantages of an Ellis Rubin is that you go to <v Robert Gilmartin>a state attorney or a U.S. attorney and you ask him for a comment and it's no comment. <v Robert Gilmartin>You go to Ellis Rubin and he stages a demonstration. <v Robert Gilmartin>He brings you into a Yahweh temple. He gets you a woman who's killed her father to go on <v Robert Gilmartin>camera. I mean, if the choice comes down to it, who are you gonna talk to? <v Robert Gilmartin>The person who says no comment, or Ellis Rubin, who is giving you visuals, great <v Robert Gilmartin>soundbites and anything else he can do for you. <v narrator: Keith Miles>This is the North Dade County Detention Center where Ellis Rubin spent 30 days on a
<v narrator: Keith Miles>contempt Senate. Rubin got a criminal record, but as a symbol of hope for some in the <v narrator: Keith Miles>legal community of a new day in court. <v narrator: Keith Miles>According to Rubin, the case was a matter of principle. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He went to jail for refusing to represent a client accused of murder. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Client Rubin knew, was planning to lie on the witness stand. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Rubin was held in contempt and appealed the case all the way to the United States Supreme <v narrator: Keith Miles>Court. He lost, then called in the press to, in his words, take his case <v narrator: Keith Miles>to the people. <v Ellis Rubin>Yes, I want the press conference at 2:30. <v Ellis Rubin>All right. And here's what you say when you call up. <v Ellis Rubin>I want USA Today. <v Ellis Rubin>I want to UPI. <v Ellis Rubin>AP already has it. <v other speaker>About three months ago. <v Ellis Rubin>All of the regular and local news. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>I'll call 4 and 6. <v Ellis Rubin>And then, Peri. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>What? <v Ellis Rubin>You call Bernie Goldberg at CBS. <v Peri Rubin-Newman>Alright <v Ellis Rubin>He just got back in town. I saw him the other day. <v Ellis Rubin>And also NBC and ABC, the local offices,
<v Ellis Rubin>the woman from People magazine who came to interview me at the jail, she wanted <v Ellis Rubin>to know when anythign happened. <v Ellis Rubin>And I think that's it. <v Ellis Rubin>All right. Now, here's what to tell him. <v Ellis Rubin>We have just been informed that the U.S. <v Ellis Rubin>Supreme Court has denied Mr. Rubin's appeal of his contempt <v Ellis Rubin>since. Mr. Rubin will respond at two thirty today in his office. <v Ellis Rubin>OK, 10000 Supreme Courts backed by 10000 <v Ellis Rubin>lawyers, swearing on 20000 Bibles that court ordered perjury <v Ellis Rubin>is right. We'll never make it right. <v Ellis Rubin>A lie is a lie is a lie. <v Ellis Rubin>Today, the Supreme Court has put its approval on this, that <v Ellis Rubin>a jury trial is no longer a search for the truth. <v Ellis Rubin>Lawyers are no longer required to put the truth on. <v Ellis Rubin>Lawyers can put perjury on, pretend to the jury that it isn't happening
<v Ellis Rubin>and they will be considered ethical and honest practitioners. <v Ellis Rubin>This is so wrong that it is stupid. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and also an attorney, Robert <v narrator: Keith Miles>Dempsey, agrees with Rubin. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Dempsey says more lawyers should take a similar stand. <v Robert Dempsey>Many many years I've been a member of the bar in Florida and New York for over 25 years. <v Robert Dempsey>I've been very, very upset about the amount of perjury that goes on in courtrooms both <v Robert Dempsey>in civil and criminal sides and almost winked at by attorneys and judges and <v Robert Dempsey>everyone. It's almost a given that you will lie in a courtroom. <v Robert Dempsey>To me, that is an outrageous situation and what is supposed to be a system of justice. <v Robert Dempsey>My feeling is in my my own principle has been that an attorney has a responsibility <v Robert Dempsey>to the court and to society to see that only true facts are presented and that and <v Robert Dempsey>justice be done in a courtroom. <v narrator: Keith Miles>But the president of the Florida bar, Ray Ferrero, says Rubin sidestep legal provisions <v narrator: Keith Miles>already in place. <v Ray Ferrero>Allows his client to take the stand, give a
<v Ray Ferrero>narrative statement of his story, the lie. <v Ray Ferrero>Do not use that in final argument and bring that matter to the attention of the court. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Ferrero says the trial judge and the appellate courts have said Rubin was wrong <v narrator: Keith Miles>and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to listen to the arguments because the Florida courts <v narrator: Keith Miles>have acted properly. Still, Rubin contends he's right. <v Ellis Rubin>And it defeats the purpose of a jury trial to have a judge tell a lawyer you deceived <v Ellis Rubin>that jury or you're going to jail. <v Ellis Rubin>I said, no, I'm not going to deceive the jury. <v Ellis Rubin>So I went to jail. And the Supreme Court says that's the way it should be. <v Ellis Rubin>It stands. I can't believe it. <v Ellis Rubin>I can't believe it. My own profession, my own country going down <v Ellis Rubin>the tubes on this moral decay and absolute bankruptcy <v Ellis Rubin>of integrity. <v Ellis Rubin>Somebody has got to stand up and say, enough, enough. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Another lawyer who sees merit in the perjury issue and lawyers like Ellis Rubin
<v narrator: Keith Miles>is Eugene Stearns. He says the issue is right. <v narrator: Keith Miles>But Rubin strategy for addressing it was wrong. <v Eugene Stearns>I think every community needs an Ellis Rubin. <v Eugene Stearns>It serves a function in terms of not only the amusement value. <v Eugene Stearns>I shouldn't perhaps say that, but I think it certainly does have that value. <v Eugene Stearns>But also from the standpoint of making sure that we don't take ourselves so seriously in <v Eugene Stearns>this particular instance, he is taking on a cause. <v Eugene Stearns>And I think all of us to try cases have to deal with. <v Eugene Stearns>I personally don't try criminal cases. <v Eugene Stearns>I try civil cases. And so nothing compels me to show up for trial for any of my <v Eugene Stearns>clients. But I would never try a case for a client who tells me he's going to <v Eugene Stearns>lie on the stand. I would simply tell him to find another lawyer. <v Eugene Stearns>And I have on occasion been compelled to do that. <v Eugene Stearns>So I sympathize with his position. <v Eugene Stearns>I agree with his position philosophically. <v Eugene Stearns>And I think it's something. The bar must address. <v Eugene Stearns>But I don't think we should take law on our own hands in doing so. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Rubin says the public will ultimately vindicate him on the perjury issue. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He says he'll wear his beard as a badge of honor until he is cleared and plans to
<v narrator: Keith Miles>ask the governor for a pardon to remove his criminal record. <v narrator: Keith Miles>His son Mark, who practices in the Rubin Law Center, says he's learned to believe in his <v narrator: Keith Miles>father even when it seems others don't. <v I. Mark Rubin>He is a maverick. He's been for the better part of his life, a <v I. Mark Rubin>voice for those that have no other voice. <v I. Mark Rubin>Someone who has been there to speak <v I. Mark Rubin>at a time when it was crucial. When a time when people could face no other way. <v I. Mark Rubin>They had no way out. And he's had a lot of success that way because he's kept <v I. Mark Rubin>his nose down and plowed ahead because he knew that a cause was right. <v I. Mark Rubin>We're going to continue to do that. And that's one of the things that I've taken, tried, <v I. Mark Rubin>at least tried to take from him as a lesson to if you believe you're right, stick <v I. Mark Rubin>to your guns and move forward and all will come out in the end. <v narrator: Keith Miles>To Ellis Rubin, The search for the truth is the job of the courts. <v narrator: Keith Miles>The job of justice. It is the crusade he works and lives for and hopes <v narrator: Keith Miles>someday be remembered for.
<v Ellis Rubin>I would like to see on my marker, on my grave. <v Ellis Rubin>This, above all, to thine own self be true and it must follow as the night today <v Ellis Rubin>falcons not then be false to any man. <v Ellis Rubin>I think that that's what I try to do. <v narrator: Keith Miles>For the past six years, many have thought of federal judge, Alcee Hastings, as a troubled <v narrator: Keith Miles>man. But Hastings is confident he'll soon be finally free of the bribery charges <v narrator: Keith Miles>that have haunted him since 1981. <v Alcee L. Hastings>But I've learned to make this thing my joy and my pain. <v Alcee L. Hastings>And once you do that, uh you can live comfortably within yourself. <v Alcee L. Hastings>I feel that I'm legally, spiritually and morally correct in this situation. <v Alcee L. Hastings>And so for that reason, I'm able to obliterate the notion that it's trouble. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Judge Alcee Lamar Hastings was indicted in 1981 on federal bribery <v narrator: Keith Miles>and conspiracy charges in 1982. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Washington lawyer William Borders was tried and convicted of soliciting a one hundred
<v narrator: Keith Miles>fifty thousand dollar bribe from defendants in Hastings court. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Hastings also underwent a jury trial but was acquitted. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Borders has served his sentence and is free. <v narrator: Keith Miles>The black cloud still hovers over the judge. <v Alcee L. Hastings>It doesn't bother me personally that all it is still going on. <v Alcee L. Hastings>What bothers me is that it's unconstitutional, unwarranted and unnecessary <v Alcee L. Hastings>and is an extraordinary expense to the American taxpayer and to yours truly. <v Alcee L. Hastings>Now, that bothers me. But insofar as the matter is concerned, I found <v Alcee L. Hastings>when there is a tenacious disagreement between our adversaries <v Alcee L. Hastings>and the law that you can reasonably expect uh that, uh some blood <v Alcee L. Hastings>is going to be left on the floor when it's all over. <v Alcee L. Hastings>My job is to make sure that it's not mine. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Fighting is not new to Alcee Hastings, even though this time he's perhaps in the biggest <v narrator: Keith Miles>bout of his life. Those who know the Altamont Spring tonight say he's always fought <v narrator: Keith Miles>and spoken out for the principles he believes in. <v Jesse McCrary>Well, we met when we were both law students. <v Jesse McCrary>I was a freshman and he was a senior. And our law school was so small that you knew
<v Jesse McCrary>everybody in the whole school. So I met him the first day I went to school. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Attorney and former Secretary of State Jesse McCrary has known Alcee Hastings for 25 <v narrator: Keith Miles>years. They both attended the Florida A&M University Law School. <v narrator: Keith Miles>The school trained many of the state's black lawyers of that era. <v narrator: Keith Miles>McCreary remembers his pal Al as being vocal and flamboyant even then. <v Jesse McCrary>I think he's calmed down a bit. I mean, he was flamboyant then has always been, <v Jesse McCrary>has always been the kind of take charge guy that he that he is now. <v George Knox>He still has a sense of humor, as always. <v George Knox>He still takes very strong positions, as always, and he still renders <v George Knox>pretty judicious and well thought out decisions from the bench as always. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Another Miami attorney, George Knox, has been practicing law for 14 years. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He handles basic corporate and land use cases and follows legal issues as well. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He says Hastings' jury acquittal is the reason the case still lingers. <v George Knox>Well, I think that the fact that he was acquitted
<v George Knox>disturbed some of his colleagues on the bench. <v George Knox>To tell you the truth, I think that what has emerged is a profound <v George Knox>constitutional question, because the position taken by the judges who <v George Knox>have sought to have him removed essentially establishes a sort <v George Knox>of a double standard. The fact is that a citizen of the United States was <v George Knox>tried before a jury of his peers and acquitted of the charges. <v George Knox>And the effect of the action by the other judges has been <v George Knox>to invite an opportunity to retry an individual for <v George Knox>the same offenses for which they had already been acquitted. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Knox compares Hastings to another nationally publicized case. <v George Knox>By the response to the acquittal of Governor Edwards in Louisiana, for example. <v George Knox>He is going back to attend to his duties without further interference from <v George Knox>the government in this case. <v George Knox>It was not the government so much that that picked up <v George Knox>the challenge. But members of the judiciary who were simply dissatisfied
<v George Knox>with the outcome of a trial. <v narrator: Keith Miles>A complaint was filed against Hasting after his acquittal, requiring investigation by the <v narrator: Keith Miles>Judicial Council and a conference of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. <v narrator: Keith Miles>The judge is bound by law from discussing the case recommended trial and impeachment <v narrator: Keith Miles>in Congress. In fact, Judge Gerald Tjoflat of Jacksonville said he felt it inappropriate <v narrator: Keith Miles>to discuss the Hastings case. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Tjoflat said. If Hastings weren't talking about it, no one would be. <v narrator: Keith Miles>And Hastings is certainly telling his story everywhere he can. <v Alcee L. Hastings>I'm of the mind that what's happening is Congress persons are not really certain about <v Alcee L. Hastings>what they want to do in this situation. <v Alcee L. Hastings>And this is an extraordinarily historic turnabout in this nation. <v Alcee L. Hastings>Its the very first time that anyone, judge or otherwise that has been <v Alcee L. Hastings>acquitted uh, in a jury trial that took the stand <v Alcee L. Hastings>or is being sought to be impeached, is it? <v narrator: Keith Miles>Hastings is a hot commodity on the television talk show and lecture circuit, just <v narrator: Keith Miles>like a politician seeking votes.
<v narrator: Keith Miles>He tells his story to the constituents of those who will judge him next many times <v narrator: Keith Miles>right in their own backyards. <v Alcee L. Hastings>My nature is and always has been to vigorously resist <v Alcee L. Hastings>attacks on me. <v Alcee L. Hastings>My loved ones, my country, my race, <v Alcee L. Hastings>my church, my friends and base inhumane <v Alcee L. Hastings>actions by governments or people. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Some say it's his mouth that gets him in trouble. <v narrator: Keith Miles>The St. Petersburg Times in a June 1983 editorial said he doesn't practice <v narrator: Keith Miles>the self-restraint required of a judge, but also said that is not an impeachable <v narrator: Keith Miles>offense. Hastings says. <v Alcee L. Hastings>That they are looking at a genuine individual who can go and speak to <v Alcee L. Hastings>the NAACP and rule against the NAACP, who can go <v Alcee L. Hastings>and speak to the Anti Defamation League and rule against the Anti Defamation <v Alcee L. Hastings>League, who he is an environmentalist who does believe in peace and
<v Alcee L. Hastings>can rule against peace demonstrators if they violate the law and will <v Alcee L. Hastings>pitch environmentalists out of an area where the law requires that they should not be. <v Alcee L. Hastings>What you see is, is a new animal, that's all. <v Alcee L. Hastings>Called judge. And I was a judge appointed for life, and I will <v Alcee L. Hastings>be a judge for life. And I will also be a human being. <v Alcee L. Hastings>I will be a Christian. I will speak in church. <v Alcee L. Hastings>I will speak anywhere I want to. If I don't like Ronald Reagan or whoever the next <v Alcee L. Hastings>president is, I'm going to say it. <v Alcee L. Hastings>And I'm still going to go in that courtroom and do my job, find the jury that says, I <v Alcee L. Hastings>didn't do my job. Find a litigant that says that I didn't do my job. <v Alcee L. Hastings>Find any lawyer that says that I didn't do my job and I'll quit my job. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>Alcee Hastings is different. He feels as though just because he wears his black robes. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>He hasn't given up his right to exercise his First Amendment. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel reporter Stephen D'Oliveira has covered the Hasting <v narrator: Keith Miles>story from his indictment. In fact, Hastings says D'Oliveira knows more <v narrator: Keith Miles>about his case than any other journalist.
<v narrator: Keith Miles>He penned a cover story for his paper's sunshine magazine and feels the political process <v narrator: Keith Miles>of impeachment in Congress will add to the story's magnitude. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>Impeachment is a political process. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>There's no doubt about that. And Hastings is gonna be on the stump <v Stephen D'Oliveira>trying to get his point of view across that he was not guilty. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>Therefore, let me go. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>On the other hand, you have the politicians who are going to be supporting the <v Stephen D'Oliveira>report that was issued by the judicial committee saying <v Stephen D'Oliveira>that he is guilty of bribery and should be removed. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>So it's in a political forum, Congress and I think com- polic-. <v Stephen D'Oliveira>Politics can play a big part in what happens. <v Richard Sharpstein>In my experience as as a trial lawyer, I practice mostly criminal law in this city, <v Richard Sharpstein>have for a while. And and I've been in front of a lot of judges and state judges, federal <v Richard Sharpstein>judges. And Alcee Hastings definitely ranks at the top of <v Richard Sharpstein>his profession. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Defense lawyer Richard Sharpstein has handled a dozen or more jury trials before Judge
<v narrator: Keith Miles>Hastings. Sharpstein says most of the South Florida legal community supports the <v narrator: Keith Miles>judge and feels his case has gone too long without being resolved. <v Richard Sharpstein>The fact that now we're coming and coming up with a charge or an allegation five <v Richard Sharpstein>years later is something we talk about in the law. <v Richard Sharpstein>Justice delayed is justice denied. <v Richard Sharpstein>The Supreme Court of our state <v Richard Sharpstein>has spoken those words. The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken those words. <v Richard Sharpstein>That's the cornerstone of our system. <v Richard Sharpstein>You just don't leave people in jail or leave people hanging or leave people with an <v Richard Sharpstein>albatross around their neck without some resolution in this country. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Although Hastings doesn't want it to be an issue, he says race is a factor. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He was the first black federal judge from Florida appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1979 <v narrator: Keith Miles>and would be the first black judge ever impeached. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He would also be the first judge of any race ever acquitted by a jury and then <v narrator: Keith Miles>impeached. University of Miami law professor and Hastings legal counsel Terence
<v narrator: Keith Miles>Anderson proclaims it won't happen. <v Terrence Anderson>I don't think the Congress of the United States has the time or stomach to retry <v Terrence Anderson>a marginal case which has been made more marginal after three and a half years of <v Terrence Anderson>investigation. <v Terrence Anderson>And there is and they know this and should understand what <v Terrence Anderson>needs now to be investigated is how the Justice Department ever decided <v Terrence Anderson>to indict a federal judge when they had arrested borders at a <v Terrence Anderson>time they knew no money had ever gone to Judge Hastings. <v Terrence Anderson>They had no business. They should have let that money go and find out and then we'd know <v Terrence Anderson>for sure. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Hastings is so confident he won't be impeached that he's already contemplating things <v narrator: Keith Miles>he'd like to do when it's all over. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He says he likes kids and wants to teach. <v narrator: Keith Miles>He also plans to write an autobiography detailing his latest adventures. <v Alcee L. Hastings>As a matter of fact, I taught a course that is so reminiscent of the circumstances <v Alcee L. Hastings>pertaining to me. I taught a course on the book, The Trial by <v Alcee L. Hastings>Franz Kafka. And much of what is happening to me and my view is.
<v Alcee L. Hastings>Very Kafkaesque in that I'm being tried and <v Alcee L. Hastings>sentenced is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland also. <v Alcee L. Hastings>Now, I think that's a good title for my book. Alcee in Wonderland. <v Alcee L. Hastings>I think that's what I'll call it. <v narrator: Keith Miles>Even if his opponents succeed in removing him from the bench, it's guaranteed that <v narrator: Keith Miles>Alcee Lamar Hastings, this new animal called Judge, will not <v narrator: Keith Miles>be silenced. <v Alcee L. Hastings>Everybody, please understand. Martin Luther King articulated a German spokesperson <v Alcee L. Hastings>when he talked in terms of I would rather die standing <v Alcee L. Hastings>up than to die standing on my knees, <v Alcee L. Hastings>knowing what I do about the streets. <v Alcee L. Hastings>And having grown up in Altamont Springs, I determined to translate that <v Alcee L. Hastings>into the vernacular of the brothers and sisters down in Frenchtown. <v Alcee L. Hastings>What they would say for that same phraseology is I would rather <v Alcee L. Hastings>go down throwing down than to go down laying
Rebels of the Bar
Producing Organization
Florida Public Broadcasting Service, inc.
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"A pair of south Floridians have ruffled the feathers of the generally staid legal profession. Flamboyant attorney, Ellis Rubin, and federal district judge Alcee Hastings, an outspoken critic of society's ills, are each engaged in a separate struggle for his career and reputation. These two mavericks are the subjects of this Florida Public Television documentary, 'Rebels of the Bar.' The program details the latest in a series of judicial problems plaguing Rubin and Hastings. "Included in the thirty minute program are in-depth interviews with Rubin, clients Prentice Rasheed and Yahweh ben Yahweh, and Rubin's supporters and detractors, in the legal fraternity. The Hastings segment features interviews with the judge, his lawyer and a journalist who covered his bribery trial. 'Rebels' was shot on location in Miami, FL. And Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This documentary merits Peabody consideration because of the uniqueness of the subject matter, the importance of the issues raised by the conduct of the characters in a high profile profession and the legal and societal issues raised by each in their separate stands against widely accepted norms of behavior in America's judicial system."--1987 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: Florida Public Broadcasting Service, inc.
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-21697950220 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 0:28:00
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Chicago: “Rebels of the Bar,” 1987-08-25, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
MLA: “Rebels of the Bar.” 1987-08-25. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2022. <>.
APA: Rebels of the Bar. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from