Ana María Polo: TV's New Judge

Photo by Stian Roenning
It's Ana María Polo's blunt common sense that holds the show together.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

English-language daytime legal shows usually end in a monetary judgment and the robe-cloaked official dispensing his or her own form of folksy wisdom. Caso Cerrado, meanwhile, often winds up resembling an MMA fight between angry abuelas or an impromptu dance party.

Issues go beyond simple monetary disagreements and can include cases ranging from child custody and family disputes to immigration. Memorable guests have been a woman who identified as a vampire and wore surgically implanted horns, a vinyl-banana-hammock-clad go-go boy, and a mother of six with double-E breasts.

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Marissa Alexander, Mom Who Fired Warning Shot, Agrees to Plea Deal: Three Years in Jail

Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville mother had originally been sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to ward of her abusive ex-husband, has reached a new plea deal. She received a three-year sentence, of which the 1,030 days she already spent in jail will be counted towards. Meaning she could be a free woman in as little as 65 days.

However, the deal is an "open plea," and Alexander could still receive a five-year sentence for a second charge at a hearing in January.

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Judge Jacqueline Schwartz Boasts About Defeating "Nondescript Hispanic"

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz is a white lady who apparently thinks white ladies have a hard time getting elected in Miami-Dade despite having served as an elected county judge for the past 12 years.

After defeating Cuban-American challenger Frank Bocanegra, Schwartz was so proud of herself for being a victorious white lady that she issued a statement boasting about how she had defeated a "nondescript Hispanic."

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Cops Can No Longer Track You Using Cell Phone Data, Florida Supreme Court Rules

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled in favor of protecting a privacy right that many Floridians might not have even known they'd lost, and we have a convicted drug dealer to thank.

Police departments often use cell phone data and spying tools known as "stingrays" to track people's locations through their cell phone calls, often without obtaining a warrant first. Last week the Florida Supreme Court ruled that practice violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits illegal searches and seizures.

See also: Cell Phone Tracking: Miami Cops Know Where You Are

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Darrin P. Gayles Becomes First Openly Gay Black Federal Judge

The United States now has its first openly gay black federal judge, and he's from South Florida. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Darrin P. Gayles' nomination to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida was approved by the Senate today in a 97-0 vote.

Gayles was nominated by President Obama after another openly gay black local judges's nomination was singlehandedly held up by Marco Rubio, who had ironically recommended him the first place.

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DJ Laz Being Sued by Mother of Boat Accident Victim

via Facebook
The mother of the victim of a fatal accident involving a boat being driven by DJ Laz has filed suit against the popular radio personality. Maricel Valdez is seeking damages following the death of her 23-year-old son Ernesto Hernandez that names Laz (real named Lazaro Mendez), Voli Spirits, Park Street Imports, and Plantation Boat Mart and Marina as defendants.

See also: DJ Laz Driving Boat That Killed Man Who Got Caught in Propeller

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Supreme Court Won't Hear Rick Scott's Drug-Testing Case

Rick Scott has apparently never met a person he doesn't want to test for drugs. Whether welfare recipients or state employees, the governor has created quite the controversy throughout his first term by unleashing strict plans to drug-test Floridians -- only to see those plans challenged and derailed in court.

Well, today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Scott's appeal of a lower court's decision that his plan to drug-test all state workers is unconstitutional.

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Jeff Herman, Miami Lawyer, Behind Bryan Singer Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Miami-based lawyer Jeff Herman is the nation's leading attorney when it comes to handling high-profile sexual abuse lawsuits. He's taken on the archdioceses of both Miami and Denver, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, and now X-Men director Bryan Singer.

Just two days after winning a $5.25 million verdict for a victim of sexual abuse at the Downtown Miami Charter School last Tuesday, he announced a suit against Singer.

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Florida Charges Children as Adults More Than Any Other State

via Miss Millions' Flickr / CC2.0
Children may be the future, but Florida is putting its future behind bars. A new report from the Human Rights Watch blasts the state for charging children as adults more than any other state in the nation, and says that far too often, the decision is arbitrary.

Florida law allows prosecutors sole discretion over whether to charge a minor as an adult, and not even a judge can overturn the decision. The report claims this practice has led to an unusually large number of Florida's children being treated as adults in the criminal justice system.

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Ex-Gulliver Prep Headmaster Loses $80K Settlement Because Teen Daughter Bragged About It on Facebook

Patrick Snay was headmaster at Gulliver Preparatory until 2010 when the school declined to renew his contract. He successfully sued for age discrimination and won $10,000 in back wages along with a nice $80,000 settlement. However the deal included a confidentiality agreement.

Unfortunately for Snay, he told his teenage daughter about the settlement and then she promptly bragged about it on Facebook. Now a court has ruled that the school no longer has to pay the $80,000.

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