Chief Judge Victor Tobin's Questionable Exit Prompts Massive Public-Records Search

victor tobin.jpg
Mr. Foreclosure himself
Would you trust Broward judges to supply compromising information about themselves? That's what they're being asked to do now, essentially...

A few weeks ago, we wrote about outgoing Broward County Chief Judge Victor Tobin leaving his post to join a foreclosure law firm that stands to benefit from policies he crafted.

Among Tobin's accomplishment as head honcho at the courthouse is the institution of the "rocket docket," which allows judges to move a foreclosure case forward in the blink of an overworked attorney's eye. (Matt Taibbi wrote a scathing account of the process in Rolling Stone.)

Now somebody -- we swear it wasn't us -- has initiated a vast public records request that could reveal whether Tobin or other judges were actively angling for employment based on their current positions.

From our story by Eric Barton:

The widespread belief that he's biased toward banks seemed supported this week when Tobin announced that he'll be leaving the bench for a job at the law offices of Marshall C. Watson, one of the largest foreclosure firms in the state. It's a move that angers foreclosure defense lawyers who say it appears as if Tobin established a system that will favor his new position. Worse, Tobin may have been negotiating his new job while creating rules that will benefit him later.

As reported on JAABlog, the request filed under Florida's saving-grace public-records laws seeks a broad range of communications from the year preceding Tobin's announcement that he was leaving the bench:

All records of the judicial branch relating to discussions of employment and career opportunities, salary offers, salary negotiations, benefits, other forms of compensation, employment starting dates, current employment exit strategy, hiring procedures, job applications, letters of recommendation, and/or incentives regarding the employment of judges of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit to or from any employee or representative of the Law Office of Marshall Watson, including but not limited to emails, letters, meeting minutes, calendar pages.

Now that's certainly a hell of a lot of information for anyone to search for... which is why courthouse General Counsel Alexandra V. Rieman is outsourcing the duty of supplying the information to the judges themselves. In an email, she forwarded the request to circuit judges and asked them to supply her with copies of documents matching the description. "If you have any questions," she wrote, "please contact me."

Yes, how quickly does the "empty trash" button work??


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7 comments
Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson

JAABLOG reported that I am the author of the public records request.  What's the problem with reporting that?  See below:John B. Thompson, J.D.5721 Riviera DriveCoral Gables, Florida 33146305-666-4366amendmentone@comcast.net  May 19, 2011 The Honorable Victor J. TobinChief Judge, Broward Circuit CourtBroward County Courthouse201 SE Sixth StreetFt. Lauderdale, Florida 33301 Via Fax to 954.8316302, email jtobin@17th.flcourts.org  Re:  Public Records Request  Your Honor: Congratulations on your new job at the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson. Pursuant to Florida’s Public Records Laws, including both Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, and our Rules of Judicial Administration, I hereby demand copies of all correspondence, including but not limited to all letters, e-mails, and faxes, between you and your staff and any individuals associated with the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson generated in the last six months. As you know, such communications are not privileged or confidential and must be placed expeditiously in the public domain upon receipt of a request/demand such as this. I wish you well in this troubled law firm.   Regards, Jack Thompson Copies:  Media, others

twas
twas

So much important news here today.........I like where this is headed, lets keep the comment count up.

anonymous
anonymous

How can Tobin NOT have used his position as Chief Judge?  He's still Chief Judge and he's working for the greedy foreclosure monster.  Mothers are turning over in their graves.

anonymous
anonymous

Hey Vic, did you make any of our military heros homeless today?  POS

anonymous
anonymous

I hope they put Tobin in the slammer where he belongs.

nanook5
nanook5

there's probably several parties looking for this information....proving how corrupt the civil judiciary has become with foreclosures is a necessary part of stopping the foreclosure crisis.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

I once tried to deal with Rieman.   She wanted to charge me $1,700 for Seidlin's emails.   I told her flying + fuck.

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