Search and Categories

Here’s The Scoop … Learning About The Judges…Brings It Back “Home” …

June 1, 2010 by Barbara


Dear Readers… an Avid Reader spoke to this writer last week about the judges up for re-election…I was a little embarrassed that I like most voters actually know very little about the candidates or the races … The name at the top of the list to find out about was Carlos S. Rebollo … I promised I would look into it…

With a little downtime this morning I did a little looking online …and found that this judge is highly regarded and well respected from all the comments found on various sites …Judge Rebollo has listed on his site .(see below)….as a reference The Honorable James I. Cohn, United States District Court Judge, Southern District of Florida … That struck me because I had just finished reading an article about Judge Cohn (see below) …finding he too is highly regarded and respected …One of those lawyers interviewed was the Atty. for Kenneth Wilk …. In August 2004, Kenneth Wilk shot and killed Deputy Todd Fatta while he was trying to serve a search warrant at Wilk’s house in Fort Lauderdale. A high-powered round from a Winchester hunting rifle penetrated Fatta’s bulletproof vest and hit him in the heart.The bullet passed through Fatta’s body and then hit Sgt. Angelo Cedeno in the hand and shoulder. Cedeno lost a finger from the incident. That’s right, the very same BSO-LBTS Lt. Angelo Cedeno …(see below)…It always seems to come back home…somehow….

What also came to light for me from various websites and articles is the issue of how the politicos think we vote when having so little knowledge of who the person is on the ballot before us…These articles being posted bring forth that perhaps we will vote the surname rather than the record…

If true, it appears that Judge Rebollo could be voted out because of his surname … and he’s not alone…opponents are coming forward in many such races in hopes that this assumption will hold true…

In the meantime I believe it would be a great service to the the voters of the Town to invite the candidates to come to Jarvis Hall and speak to the voters to make sure that when our residents vote, they vote for the person and their record just as they did in March…

Our Commissioners should assist in this endeavor and I ask Readers to do some homework as well before they are faced with a name on the ballot before them that might make them have to question whether they will give validity to the claims of how we vote…..


“Retain Judge Carlos S. Rebello website”….


About Judge Rebollo

I have been a Broward County Circuit Court Judge for over two years, assigned to the Juvenile Dependency division handling cases where children have been abandoned, abused or neglected. Prior to becoming a judge I was a prosecutor for twenty one years, two in New Jersey and nineteen here in Broward County.

In those twenty one years I was a homicide, career criminal, organized crime and gang prosecutor.
I look forward to continue serving the people of Broward County. I bring integrity and fairness to the bench. Everyone in my courtroom is treated with respect.


* Admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, August 2007
* Admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Florida, December 1987
* Admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida April 2006
* Admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the 11 th Circuit, August 2007
* Admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey , May 1985
* Admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, May 1985

Legal Experience

* Appointed November 22, 2007 by Governor Charlie Crist Circuit Court Judge for the 17 th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County; Started December 17, 2007 in the Juvenile Dependency division.
* Solo General Practitioner, The Law Offices of Carlos S. Rebollo, P.A., August 2007 to December 2007.
* Assistant State Attorney, 17 th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida,

September 1988 to August 2007. Prosecuted over 200 felony jury trials to verdict, charges included murder, robbery, burglary, other violent offenses, possession, delivery and trafficking in controlled substances and all other felonies.

* Homicide Unit October 2006 to August 2007
* Organized Crime and Gang Unit May 2001 to September 2006
* Career Criminal Unit November 1994 to April 2001
* Senior Supervisor & Supervisor in the Felony Trial Unit July 1992 to December 1994
* Felony Trial Unit December 1988 to June 1992
* Misdemeanor Trial Unit September 1988 to December 1988
* Assistant Essex County Prosecutor, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Newark , New Jersey ,
* June 1986 to August 1988. Prosecuted 20 felony jury trials to verdict.
* Law Clerk to the Honorable John J. Dios, Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, Criminal Division, September 1985 to June 1986.
* Associate and Law Clerk to the law firm of Summerville, Radding & Campbell, Jersey City, New Jersey. September 1984 to August 1985. General practice of law.


* Juris Doctorate, The Drake University Law School , Des Moines , Iowa May 1984
* Dean’s List, The Drake University Law School, Des Moines , Iowa 1983 Fall semester
* Biography in Who’s Who Among American Law Students, 4 th Edition 1984
* Prosecutor’s Internship Polk County State Attorney’s Office Des Moines, Iowa 1984 Spring semester
* Student Attorney, Boone County Legal Aid, Boone, Iowa 1982 Fall semester
* Bachelor of Arts, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey May 1980
* Major in Political Science; Minor in History

Professional Affiliations Current and Previous Years

* Florida Bar
* Broward County Bar Association
* Broward County Hispanic Bar Association
* Broward County Crime Commission
* Florida Gang Investigators Association
* Friends of Florida Assistant State Attorneys
* Federal Bar Association Broward Chapter
* New Jersey State Bar Association
* American Bar Association
* Association of Trial Lawyers of America

Committee Membership

* Florida Bar – Florida Criminal Procedure Rules Committee
* Appointed July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2007; Reappointed July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010;
* Appointed Subcommittee I Chairman July 1, 2008; Reappointed July 1, 2009.

Awards and Commendations

* 2006 Commendation presented by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Strategic Investigation Division, Organized Criminal Activities Section, for tremendous contribution in the fight against Organized Crime in South Florida.

* • 2003 Commendation presented by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Strategic Investigation Division, Organized Criminal Activities Section, for leadership and dedication to Operation Goodfellas and Operation Crossover.
* April 2001 Commendation presented by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, Career Criminal Unit for dedication, effort and accomplishments while in the Career Criminal Unit.
* October 1991 recognized as Prosecutor of the Month in the Felony Trial Unit and commended for dedicated and outstanding service to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office.

Special Skills:
* Speak Spanish fluently.


* The Honorable William P. Dimitrouleas, United States District Court Judge, Southern
* District of Florida.
* The Honorable James I. Cohn, United States District Court Judge, Southern District
* of Florida .


Excerpts …Judge James I. Cohn

“When three of Broward County’s once powerful residents are sentenced to federal prison in the next few weeks, their fates will lie in the hands of one man — U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn.

BC-Broward School Board member Beverly Gallagher, now-disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein, former Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman

“Cohn wields great authority and power as a lifetime appointee to the federal bench in Fort Lauderdale but outside court, he’ll introduce himself as “Jimmy Cohn” in his soft Alabama drawl or gently inquire about some personal detail you’ll have assumed he’s too busy to remember.

“A true Southern gentleman” and “tough but fair” were the most common descriptions offered by dozens of attorneys who have handled cases in his courtroom and were interviewed by the Sun Sentinel.

And yes, many of them said that he doles out tough sentences to convicted criminals.

For his part, Cohn said in a rare interview that he would like to be known as “somebody that was fair and reasonable and someone who treated people with courtesy and respect and somebody who followed the law.”

“He’s a judge who’s prepared, he’s decisive and he plays it down the middle. The rulings cut both ways,” said Bill Matthewman, a defense attorney who represented convicted cop killer Kenneth Wilk in Cohn’s courtroom in 2007.

Cohn, 61, is a lifelong Democrat nominated to the federal judiciary in 2003 by Republican President George W. Bush and confirmed 96-0 by a Republican-dominated Senate during a bitterly partisan era. His confirmation hearing was described by the Sun Sentinel as “a striking display of harmony in a contentious arena” but Cohn said that, as a Democrat selected by a Republican president, he was unlikely to face opposition.

The position of U.S. district judge is for life and appointees are not subject to voter approval. The job pays $174,000 a year.

Before Cohn’s current job, he was a Broward Circuit judge, appointed in 1995 by Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat. He scored high in attorney reviews and never attracted a challenger at election time.

In his eight years on the state bench, Cohn tried 770 felony jury trials, including 144 in one year, a local record only exceeded by his friend, U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas when he was a state judge. Cohn believes that his work ethic helped to get him the federal appointment.

The judge sets the tone and he insists on punctuality, courtesy and respect in his courtroom. He seems bewildered by attorneys who run late or are less than totally organized.

Benjamin said he thinks the world of Cohn: “He’s the picture of what you want in a judge.” But Benjamin said he was really frustrated by the judge’s rigidity. “It’s puzzling to see that court scheduling can ever be more important than preparing a case,” the attorney said.

Cohn said he hopes he’s evolved with experience but that “lawyers are inherent procrastinators and you’ve got to set deadlines.”

Some defendants in state court, where Cohn handled career criminals who were mandated by law to receive lengthy sentences, called him “the Rocket Man” because they said “he could send you to the moon.” That reputation has stuck and some attorneys quietly call Cohn’s courtroom “the launching pad” for similar reasons.

Cautiously choosing his words, Cohn said he judges each case on its merits, considering the advisory sentencing guidelines, the nature and circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s history and character.”,0,3680538,full.story


Excerpts…Conviction of Kenneth Wilk….
“BSO deputy murderer sentenced to three life terms
MIAMI – A man convicted of murdering a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy was sentenced earlier today to three concurrent terms of life imprisonment, an additional thirty years’ imprisonment to run consecutive to the life terms, a lifetime term of supervised release, and a $25,000 fine.
Kenneth Paul Wilk was also ordered to pay $300,000 to the court’s CJA fund to defer the costs of his appointed defense counsel. The court also ordered the forfeiture of Wilk’s interest in his residence, located at 1950 NE 57th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as directed by the jury in a separate forfeiture proceeding on June 13, 2007. A separate hearing is set for Nov. 2, 2007 to determine the amount of restitution that Wilk will owe to the Fatta family and Angelo Cedeno.
The sentencing announcement was made by R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, special agent in charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jonathan I. Solomon, special agent in charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Sheriff Ken Jenne, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO).
Wilk was convicted on June 5, 2007 of murder in the first degree for the murder of BSO Sheriff’s Deputy Todd M. Fatta, the attempted murder of Sergeant Angelo Cedeno, use of a firearm in the commission of crimes of violence, that is, the murder of Deputy Fatta and the attempted murder of Sergeant Cedeno, obstruction of justice in connection with the prosecution of Kelly Ray Jones in a prior federal case, possession of child pornography; and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The defendant has been in custody since Aug. 19, 2004, the date of the Fatta murder.
U.S. Attorney Acosta stated, “Although today’s sentence brings some measure of comfort to the Fatta and BSO families, no amount of punishment can undo or even alleviate the pain and suffering caused by this senseless murder. The loss of human life is always tragic, but it is particularly poignant when the victim is someone who so selflessly devoted his life to helping others.”



“Here We Go Again: Two Hispanic Judges File For Re-Election

Have Broward County voters matured enough to elect a Hispanic judge?
We’ll find out next year now that two incumbent Hispanic judges have opened re-election campaigns.
Broward Circuit Judges Carlos Rebollo and Carlos Rodriguez filed re-election papers in Tallahassee within the last week.
Both were appointed to the bench by Gov. Charlie Crist. They will be facing voters for the first time in 2010.
That may be the problem.
When three appointed Hispanic judges — Catalina Avalos, Pedro Dijols and Julio Gonzalez — ran last year for the first time, they lost.
Sad, but true: The loss was widely attributed to them having Hispanic names.
Having Hispanic names hasn’t deterred Rebollo and Rodriguez from running.
Rebollo and Rodriguez deserve to be easily re-elected. They would be, unless biased voters reject them because of their Hispanic names.
Rebollo and Rodriguez are two of three remaining Broward judges with an identifiably Hispanic name. The third is Judge Robert Diaz.
Judge Ana Gardiner is Hispanic, but her name isn’t.
Judge Mily Rodriguez-Powell could run as Mily R. Powell. That’s similar to what Judge Marina Garcia Wood did when she ran as Marina G. Wood.
I wish that we reached the point where a Hispanic name is not a detriment for a candidate.
But I wouldn’t count on it.”


more to come…

Post Division