Senator Bill Nelson September 19,2012
Landmark Two
225 East Robinson Street, Suite 410
Orlando, Florida 32801
Dear Senator Nelson:
This is a follow-up to my letter to you dated August 27, 2012 about problems with the U.S.
District Court for the Middle District of Florida, related to my lawsuit a.bout injustice in the
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Florida.
I am pleased to tell you that Justice Thomas granted my Rule 13.5 Application to extend time to
file a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in C.A.l1 cases 12-11028 and 12­
11213. On September 13, 2012, Application 12A215 was granted by Justice Thomas extending
the time to file until December 10, 2012. A copy of the docket is attached. This is a link to the
decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/12a215.htm
My two cases against the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Florida, et aI., are important to the citizens
of Florida, and beyond. We do not have a properly functioning court system in Florida, and that
extends to The Florida Bar, and the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission.
My C.A.ll Case No. 12-11213 (District Court No: 5:10-cv-00503-WTH-TBS) raises ADA
claims, and Civil Rights claims for misuse and denial ofjustice under the color of law.
My C.A.ll Case No. 12-11028 (District Court No: 5: ll-cv-00539-WTH-TBS) raises claims of
the Estate, and claims for Civil RICO.
Florida Circuit Judge Martha J. Cook is at the center of some of the worst abuses in the
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. Judge Cook's ethics were questioned by Tampa Tribune in a story by
Shannon Behnken, July 21, 2011: "Critics: Judge with interest in bank shouldn't hear
foreclosures" http://www2.tbo.com/news/real-estate-news/2011/jul/21/2/critics-judge-with­
A number of Florida legal authorities have publicly criticized Judge Cook, including Henry P.
Trawick Jr., a Sarasota lawyer and author of Florida's Practice and Procedure. This story was
also profiled July 22, 2011 on The Florida Bar's Daily News Summary.
Enclosed is a courtesy copy of my Layman's Guide To Lawyer Discipline In Florida 2012. I
would appreciate any comments you have about my Guide. Thank you.

No. 12A215
Neil J. Gillespie, Applicant
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, et al.
Docketed: August 31, 2012
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Case Nos.: (12-11028, 12-11213)
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aug 13 2012 Application (12A215) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari
from October 11, 2012 to December 10, 2012, submitted to Justice Thomas.
Sep 13 2012 Application (12A215) granted by Justice Thomas extending the time to file until
December 10, 2012.
~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~
Attorneys for Petitioner:
Neil J. Gillespie 8092 SW 115th Loop (352) 854-7807
Ocala, FL 34481
Party name: Neil J. Gillespie
Docket for 12A215 http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/12a215.htm
1 of 2 9/14/2012 3:12 PM
Supreme Court of the United States
Office of the Clerk
Washington, DC 20543-0001
William K. Suter
Clerk of the Court
(202) 479-3011
September 13, 2012
Mr. Neil J. Gillespie
8092 SW 115th Loop
Ocala, FL 34481
Re: Neil J. Gillespie
v. Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, et ale
Application No. 12A215
Dear Mr. Gillespie:
The application for an extension of time within which to file a petition
for a writ of certiorari in the above-entitled case has been presented to
Justice Thomas, who on September 13, 2012 extended tlle time to and
including December 10, 2012.
This letter has been sent to those designated on the attached
notification list.
William K. Suter, Clerk
Case Analyst
:ayton iggin7J;r, / It
Supreme Court of the United States
Office of the Clerk
Washington, DC 20543-0001
William K. Suter
Clerk of the Court
(202) 479-3011
Mr. Neil J. Gillespie
8092 SW 115th Loop
Ocala, FL 34481
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
56 Forsyth Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Layman’s Guide To Lawyer Discipline In Florida
By Neil Gillespie, The Justice Network - NoSue.org
The Florida Bar is the "arm" or agent of The Florida Supreme Court for attorney regulation and
discipline. Within the Bar, lawyer discipline is controlled by five individuals, the Chief Branch
Disciplinary Counsels of the five branch offices located in Tallahassee, Tampa, Orlando, Ft.
Lauderdale, and Miami. Read more on The Florida Bar website, https://www.floridabar.org/
Tallahassee Chief Branch Discipline Counsel: James N. Watson, Jr.
Tampa Chief Branch Discipline Counsel: Susan V. Bloemendaal
Orlando Chief Branch Discipline Counsel: Jan K. Wichrowski
Ft. Lauderdale Chief Branch Discipline Counsel: Adria E. Quintela
Miami Chief Branch Discipline Counsel: Arlene K. Sankel
Each branch office has a handful of Assistant Staff Counsels and a number of grievance
committees that consider ethics and other complaints against lawyers. The Bar’s organizational
chart shows 79 grievance committees comprised of over 700 volunteers. See Exhibit 1.
You probably know one former member of a grievance committee even if you are not a lawyer.
His name is Scott Rothstein. Yes, the same Rothstein who ran a $1.2 billion investment scam.
John T. Berry is the Legal Division Director, and Kenneth Marvin is Director of Lawyer
Regulation, but they too are essentially subservient to the five Chief Branch Disciplinary
Counsels in matters of attorney discipline.
Bar presidents are rotating annual figureheads with little say in the discipline process. Executive
Director John F. Harkness, Jr. keeps the bureaucracy moving. There are 52 members of the
Board of Governors who formulate and adopt matters of policy. And of course a staff that
performs the actual work of running the bar.
But the five Chief Branch Disciplinary Counsels hold the real power concerning lawyer
misconduct. They are elected by the lawyers they regulate and essentially have a job for life if
they keep their electorate happy. They keep their electorate happy with lax oversight. In my view
the cozy arrangement is a conflict of interest. Once a Chief Branch Disciplinary Counsel makes a
decision, the rest of the Bar usually supports the finding.
Florida Bar Disciplinary Statistics
In financial year 2010-2011, 84 attorneys were disbarred. (Exhibit 2). In fiscal year 2007-2008
the bar spent $9,968,598 on lawyer discipline, a cost per sanction of $24,137.04 (Exhibit 3). The
South Florida Business Journal reported “Florida Bar admits statistics snafu” October 12,
2009, see http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/stories/2009/10/12/story1.html
No private right of action against the Bar. The decision whether to initiate disciplinary
proceedings is solely within the discretion of The Florida Bar, subject only to the review by the
Florida Supreme Court. The Bar contends no private right of action against the Bar exists in any
person for the failure to institute disciplinary proceedings. Read more about how the bar defends
lawsuits in The Florida Bar General Counsel’s Litigation Status Report, September 15, 2008.
Florida Lawyer Scandal
Scott Rothstein and Gov. Crist
Opinion: How lawyer discipline really works
1. The matter makes headlines and cannot be overlooked, such as financial or sex crimes where
law enforcement is involved. Examples include Miami lawyer Lewis B. Freeman who plead
guilty in a $2.6 million embezzlement scheme, Sarasota lawyer John Yanchek who pled guilty in
a $83 million loan fraud scam, or Florida lawyer Scott Rothstein and his ponzi scheme.
2. The lawyer fails to respond to an inquiry. The Bar hates to be ignored. Those who ignore the
Bar are sternly admonished. So long as the lawyer responds to a complaint, the Bar will usually
accept most any excuse from the lawyer and the inquiry will likely be closed with a finding of no
probable cause.
Former lawyer Scott Rothstein is one of the most
notorious members of the Florida Lawyer Scandal.
Rothstein ran a $1.2 billion investment scam right under
the nose of the Florida Bar. Rothstein was a member of a
Florida Bar grievance committee. Former Gov. Charlie
Crist appointed Rothstein to the Fourth District Court of
Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission. Charlie Crist is
also a member of the Florida Bar.
The Justice Network, by Neil Gillespie
Lawyer discipline, when it occurs, generally
falls into one of several categories.
3. The lawyer becomes a political liability to the Bar. One such lawyer was John Bruce "Jack"
Thompson known as an activist against violence and sex in video games. Thompson was
disbarred March 20, 2008. He was also a vocal critic of the Bar.
4. Retaliation, often for speaking out against wrongdoing by other lawyers, judges or the Florida
Bar itself. Former US Attorney and Harvard Law School grad David W. Marston compared the
practice of law to the Mafia in his book "Malice Aforethought, How Lawyers Use Our Secret
Rules To Get Rich, Get Sex, Get Even...And Get Away With It", an exposé of the American
legal profession.
David W. Marston
5. There may be a few cases of actual misconduct that are disciplined, but those are few and far
between, and most likely of lawyers who are in the out-group without connections.
6. In recent years the Florida Bar has made improvements in the way it considers complaints,
including intake of complaints by the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP) in
Tallahassee instead of directly to one of the five Branch Offices. ACAP under Rule 3-7.3(a)
determines whether the alleged conduct, if proven, would constitute a violation of the Rules
warranting the imposition of discipline. Under Rule 3-7.3(b) bar counsel in the branch office
decides whether to pursue and inquiry. But once the complaint is under authority of the Branch
"They all have undergone the same tough initiation, and once
admitted to membership, all have sworn the same oath. They live
by their own rules and have fiercely resisted efforts by outsiders to
penetrate their clan. The have a code of silence that makes the
Mafia’s dreaded omerta seem gossipy. And while the organization
rigidly limits the operations of its members to their assigned turf,
their criminal activities within these areas are surprisingly varied."
(Page 22, paragraphs 4 & 5)
"The organization enforces its own discipline, and outsiders can
piece together only the most fragmentary picture of the process.
But while hard statistics about crime and misconduct by its
members remain elusive, there has unquestionably been a sharp
escalation in recent years" (Page 23, paragraph 2)
"In every state, the organization has tentacles that reach into the
legislature, as well as intimate knowledge of the local criminal
justice system. Laws that might threaten operations are vigorously
opposed, and when members are convicted of crimes,
punishments are often lenient." (Page 23, paragraph 4)
"It’s not the Mafia. Not the Medellin drug cartel…The members
are all lawyers. And the organization is the American legal
profession." (Pages 23-24)
Office, or referred to a local grievance committee for further investigation, a respondent lawyer
popular with the local bar can count on support from his or her colleagues, who often ignore or
excuse wrongdoing. The Bar may consider the grievance committee as its "grand jury" but this is
misleading because a Bar grievance committee bears little in common with an actual grand jury,
as set forth in my email April 11, 2011 with James Watson, Tallahassee Chief Branch Discipline
Counsel. Grievance committee voting members are anonymous, the proceedings are confidential,
and may rely on false and misleading evidence, including unsworn testimony.
7. One of the most notorious grievance committee members was Scott W. Rothstein, who plead
guilty to RICO charges in 2010 and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. As reported on
Law.com by John Pacenti December 7, 2009, “Plenty of smoke surrounded attorney Scott
Rothstein and his well-heeled Fort Lauderdale, Fla., law firm. But nobody called the fire
department until it was too late.” Rothstein operated his RICO enterprise as member of the
Florida Bar, as member of a Bar grievance committee, and as a member of the Fourth District
Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission.
8. Attorney Eugene P. Castagliuolo admitted August 30, 2012 in a written response to Bar
Counsel Theodore P. Littlewood Jr. in TFB File No. 2013-10,162 (6D), that another attorney,
Ryan Christopher Rodems made an unsolicited offer to Mr. Castagliuolo to assist him in any
future Bar grievance from me. From page 3, ¶1:
“My opposing counsel at Gillespie's deposition was Ryan Christopher “Chris" Rodems.
Chris once remarked to me, unsolicited, that he would be happy to speak to The Florida
Bar on my behalf if Gillespie grieved me the way he did Bob Bauer.”
This shows how the discipline process can be compromised, in this case by Mr. Rodems, who’s
misconduct is at the center of my lawsuits. It suggests a pattern of racketeering activity where
adversaries know in advance how to position themselves to avoid discipline. In this case it may
have caused Mr. Castagliuolo to work for the benefit of Mr. Rodems instead of me, his client.
Conclusion. The current system is still arbitrary and not likely to change. As one Tampa lawyer
explained to me, it is important to report misconduct, and perhaps on the 20th complaint against
a lawyer for repeat bad behavior the Bar will act. This is a violation of the public trust, reflects
discredit upon lawyer discipline, and suggests partiality in the consideration of complaints.
"Goose-stepping Brigades"
Grievance Committee - the Florida Bar’s "grand jury"?
In fact, the claim by the Florida Bar that that the grievance committee is a "grand jury" is
profoundly misleading. The grievance committee bears little in common with an actual grand
jury. An actual grand jury is convened to gather facts about wrongdoing and make a public
finding, called a presentment, for consideration of bringing charges by a prosecutor. An actually
grand jury takes testimony under oath that is transcribed and part of the record.
In contrast, the Florida Bar’s grievance committee does not take sworn testimony, and the
evidence gathered is kept confidential, unless the committee votes to bring charges. However
since the testimony is not sworn, the process encourages dishonesty by the respondent to evade
discipline and obstruct justice.
As set forth in my April 11, 2011 email to James Watson, Chief Branch Disciplinary Counsel,
Tallahassee Branch, the Bar’s "grand jury" permits and encourages violations of Rule 4-8.4(c)
and (d) by respondents, even in collusion with their supporters, to evade discipline. Exhibit 2.
This results in new breaches of the ethics rules, specifically:
Rule 4-8.4(c), conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation
Rule 4-8.4(d), conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice
Two years prior to the issuance of the ABA McKay
Report, the United States Supreme Court unanimously
held in Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 US 1 (1990),
adopting in effect the prescient minority Justices' dissents
in Lathrop v. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820 (1961), that
integrated state bars must not venture into political and
ideological waters but stick with the narrow, legitimate
functions of integrated state bars. To do otherwise these
bars would become, as Justice Douglas pointed out in
Lathrop, "goose-stepping brigades" that serve neither the
public nor the profession. See Lanson v. The Florida Bar,
08-Cv-80422, U.S. District Court, S.D.Fla., Apr-21-2008.
On Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/doc/55955614/
The Florida Bar’s "Notice of Grievance Procedures" provided to
bar complainants and respondents makes this misleading
statement in paragraph 4:
The grievance committee is the Bar's "grand jury." Its function
and procedure are set forth in Rule 3-7.4. Proceedings before the
grievance committee, for the most part, are nonadversarial in
nature. However, you should carefully review Chapter 3 of the
Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.
The grievance committee of the Florida Bar is designed, under the color of law, to perpetuate
dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation which is prejudicial to the administration of
justice, and a denial of honest services. See my attached email to Mr. Watson.
The Legal Profession’s "Stop Snitchin" Culture
The Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, Chapter 4, Rules of Professional Conduct, section 4-8
Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession, Rule 4-8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct:
(a) Reporting Misconduct of Other Lawyers. A lawyer who knows that another lawyer
has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial
question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other
respects shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
(b) Reporting Misconduct of Judges. A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a
violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the
judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.
However Rule 4-8.3 is generally ignored by the profession which has a notorious code of
silence, not unlike the Mafia’s omerta or the "Stop Snitchin" culture of drug dealers.
Former US Attorney and Harvard Law School grad David W. Marston compared the practice of
law to the Mafia in his book "Malice Aforethought" and wrote:
The legal profession’s code of silence, and widespread violation of Rule 4-8.3, is an obstruction
of justice and denial of honest services when aided by the Florida Bar under the color of law.
Lawyers and judges have an individual duty to report
wrongdoing in the profession. Self-regulation of the
legal profession requires that members of the
profession initiate disciplinary investigation when
they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional
Conduct. Lawyers have a similar obligation with
respect to judicial misconduct. An apparently isolated
violation may indicate a pattern of misconduct that
only a disciplinary investigation can uncover.
"They all have undergone the same tough initiation, and once
admitted to membership, all have sworn the same oath. They live by
their own rules and have fiercely resisted efforts by outsiders to
penetrate their clan. The have a code of silence that makes the
Mafia’s dreaded omerta seem gossipy. And while the organization
rigidly limits the operations of its members to their assigned turf,
their criminal activities within these areas are surprisingly varied."
(Page 22, paragraphs 4 & 5)
In other words, the Florida Bar punishes lawyers who speak out about wrongdoing in the
profession, and protects bad lawyers guilty of misconduct. This is evidence that the Florida Bar
operates as a RICO, a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization. It is a violation of the
public trust, brings discredit to the practice of law, and undermines public confidence in the rule
of law, our courts, and system of governance.
Ken Marvin
Report of the Commission on Evaluation of Disciplinary Enforcement
Commission on Evaluation of Disciplinary Enforcement (1989-1992)
Robert B. McKay, 1990
No lawyer, and no client, can be indifferent to the disciplinary enforcement system. If the
process is performed sensibly and quickly it will provide for lawyers and clients alike a needed
service to assure honorable and effective delivery of legal services. If the disciplinary process
does not meet that standard, a disaffected public is likely to impose limits upon the process . . . .
Continuity of judicial regulation of the legal profession depends on action taken by the
profession itself.
Read the McKay Report on the American Bar Association website
Ken Marvin Responds to Claim of Serial Lawyer Misconduct
December 7, 2011
Ken Marvin is Director of Lawyer Regulation for The Florida Bar.
Marvin responded by letter December 7, 2011 to my question about
serial lawyer misconduct: "It seems a small percentage of Florida's
lawyers are responsible for the bulk of the alleged misconduct. This
undermines the profession and respect for the courts. Why is the
Bar reluctant to stop the practice of this small number of lawyers
who misuse their law license in a manner of revenge against people
with legitimate disputes?" See Mr. Marvin’s letter at Exhibit 3.
Why Does A Corrupt Legal System Matter?
Hernando de Soto
From Amazon: "It's become clear by now the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of
communism in most places around the globe hasn't ushered in an unequivocal flowering of
capitalism in the developing and postcommunist world. Western thinkers have blamed this on
everything from these countries' lack of sellable assets to their inherently non-entrepreneurial
"mindset." In this book, the renowned Peruvian economist and adviser to presidents and prime
ministers Hernando de Soto proposes and argues another reason: it's not that poor,
postcommunist countries don't have the assets to make capitalism flourish. As de Soto points out
by way of example, in Egypt, the wealth the poor have accumulated is worth 55 times as much
as the sum of all direct foreign investment ever recorded there, including that spent on building
the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam."
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the
West and Fails Everywhere Else
Hernando de Soto, Author
Published 12 years ago, the information is dated in a way
beneficial to understanding current economics and why we are
truly in a crisis over the misrule of law.
"No, the real problem is that such countries have yet to establish and
normalize the invisible network of laws that turns assets from "dead"
into "liquid" capital. In the West, standardized laws allow us to
mortgage a house to raise money for a new venture, permit the worth of
a company to be broken up into so many publicly tradable stocks, and
make it possible to govern and appraise property with agreed-upon rules
that hold across neighborhoods, towns, or regions. This invisible
infrastructure of "asset management"--so taken for granted in the West,
even though it has only fully existed in the United States for the past
100 years--is the missing ingredient to success with capitalism, insists
de Soto. But even though that link is primarily a legal one, he argues
that the process of making it a normalized component of a society is
more a political--or attitude-changing--challenge than anything else."
The Institute for Liberty and Democracy envisions a world where the
majority of people can fully participate in a national and global
economy by having access to property and business rights. We seek
bottom-up reforms that are derived from understanding and recognition
of existing extralegal systems and customs. Read more
• ElicsCCulsel
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Fiscal Year 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11
Bar Population 81,534 84,884 87,010 89,093 91,491
Total Disbarments 62 66 66 92 84
Disbarment 37 34 29 36 38
Permanent Disbarment 8 9 7 17 14
License Revoked 2 0 0 1 1
Disbarment on Consent 15 23 30 38 31
Total Suspensions 142 151 154 170 174
Non-Rehabilitative Suspension 23 25 18 39 64
Emergency Suspension 12 23 31 29 32
Felony Suspension 9 0 0 0 0
Rehabilitative Suspension 79 74 63 63 62
Suspension with Probation 12 11 7 13 15
Suspension & Public Reprimand 1 0 1 3 1
Suspension & Incapacity 0 0 0 1 0
Felony Cases 6 18 34 22 18
Disbarment 2 5 6 6 5
Permanent Disbarment 1 1 1 1 1
Disbarment on Consent 4 4 3 3
Non-Rehabilitative Suspension 0 0 2 0
Non-Rehabilitative Suspension with Probation 0 2 1 0
Rehabilitative Suspension 2 7 10 4 4
Felony Suspension Final Sanction Pending 1 1 11 5 5
Total Public Reprimands 56 64 34 46 49
Public Reprimand 35 45 25 34 43
Public Reprimand w/Probation 21 19 9 12 6
Total Disciplinary Resignations 0 0 0 0 1
Resignation 0 0 0 0 1
Permanent Resignation 0 0 0 0 0
Total Admonishments 74 58 44 60 39
Admonishment 17 19 10 12 14
Admonishment w/Probation 1 8 2 3 0
GC Admonishment 56 31 32 45 25
Total Probations 34 36 28 39 52
Probation 7 7 3 1 3
Emergency Probation 0 0 0 1 0
Conditional Admission Probation 27 29 25 37 49
Injunctions 1 0 0 0 0
Total Discipline Orders 331 328 267 361 399
Total Cases 634 652 534 801 716
Files Opened 9,063 7,827 7,639 8,129 7551
Lawyer Reg: Disciplinary Statistics
Law y er Regul at i on
The Fl or i da Bar Di sci pl i nar y St at i st i cs

Disciplinary St at ist ics 2003- 04 t o 2004- 05 in PDF format .
Disciplinary St at ist ics 1996- 97 t o 2002- 03 in PDF format .

Fi scal Year 05- 06 06- 07 07- 08
Bar Populat ion 79, 290 81, 534 84, 884
Fees $20, 379, 103 $21, 006, 000 $20, 953, 608
Cost of Disc. 9, 185, 376 9, 462, 926 9, 968, 598
%Dues t o Disc. 45. 07% 45. 04% 47. 57%
Cost Per Member 115. 84 $116. 06 $117. 43
Di sbar ment s 52 48 51
Permanent Disbarment 5 18 12
License Revoked 3 2 0
Disbarment on Consent 3 13 28
Suspensi ons 33 22 28
Emergency Suspension 21 12 23
Felony Suspension 20 4 32
Rehabilit at ive Suspension 53 89 96
Suspension w/ Probat ion 21 12 13
Suspension & Public
0 1 0
Suspension & I ncapacit y 1 0 0
Publ i c Repr i mands 29 39 50
Public Reprimand w/
Probat ion
16 22 25
* Resi gned ( Disciplinary) 9 0 0
Permanent Resignat ion 4 0 0
Admoni shment s 16 17 19
Admonishment w/ Probat ion 6 1 8
GC Admonishment 45 56 29
Pr obat i ons 3 7 7
Emergency Probat ion 0 0 0
Condit ional Admission
Probat ion
23 27 29
I nj unct i ons 0 1 0
Tot al Final Orders 363 391 450
Cost Per Sanct ion $25, 801. 62 $24, 201. 85 $24, 137. 04
Files Opened 8, 736 9, 063 7, 827

* Effect ive January 1, 2006 pursuant t o Supreme Court order amending t he Rules
Regulat ing The Florida bar dat ed Oct ober 6, 2005, a respondent may surrender his/
her Florida Bar membership in lieu of defending allegat ions of disciplinary violat ions.
Disbarment on consent shall have t he same effect as and shall be governed by t he
same rules as disbarment . This rule amendment eliminat es di sci pl i nar y
r esi gnat i ons.
[ Revised: 10- 28- 2008 ]
© 2005 The Florida Bar | Disclaimer | Top of page |
http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBLawReg.nsf/e0f40af2c23...9006a3713/f4ab3ff7cb9a5afa85256b2f006c9f09?OpenDocument (2 of 2) [11/29/2008 15:10]

Neil Gillespie
From: "Neil Gillespie" <neilgillespie@mfi.net>
To: "Jim Watson" <jwatson@flabar.org>
Cc: "James A G Davey, Jr." <jdavey@flabar.org>; "Brian Stuart Kramer" <kramerb@sao8.org>; "Melissa
Jay Murphy" <melissam@salterlaw.net>; "Carl B Schwait" <cschwait@dellgraham.com>
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 4:46 PM
Attach: NOTICE OF GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES.pdf; 2009, 04-22-09, Salter, Feiber reply.pdf
Subject: Re: Complaint, Gillespie v Robert W. Bauer, The Florida Bar File No. 2011-00,073(8B)
Page 1 of 4
Dear Mr. Watson:
Thank you for your response. I trust that your trial is complete and you are back in the office.
Attached is a "Notice of Grievance Procedures" provided to me by the Florida Bar July 30, 2010.
The relevant portion to our discussion is paragraph 4:
4. The grievance committee is the Bar's "grand jury." Its function and procedure are set forth in
Rule 3-7.4. Proceedings before the grievance committee, for the most part, are nonadversarial in
nature. However, you should carefully review Chapter 3 of the Rules Regulating The Florida
The claim that that the grievance committee is the Bar’s "grand jury" is misleading. The
grievance committee bears little in common with an actual grand jury.
As previously noted, an actual grand jury issues a finding of fact or presentment that is signed by
all the members. The presentment is filed with the clerk of the court and is a public record.
While the grievance committee has nonlawyer members, only a quorum is needed for a vote, and
the quorum is not requited to have any nonlawyer members. A grievance committee could be
composed entirely of lawyers. An actual grand jury would not be composed entirely of lawyers.
The selection and composition of an actual grand jury is different than the Bar’s "grand jury".
Actual grand juries are larger, usually 15 to 21 members.
In an actual grand jury, jurors are selected at random and their names are taken from lists
prepared by the clerk of the circuit court. Most government officials are disqualified to serve on
an actual grand jury. An elected public official is not eligible to be a grand juror.
In contrast, the Bar’s "grand jury" draws from a small pool of self-selected members. The Eighth
Circuit Grievance Committee "B" consists of ten members; seven lawyers and three nonlawyers.
The Bar’s "grand jury" requires a quorum (in my case 5 members), non of whom are required to
be nonlawyers. I know of no prohibition on government or elected officials serving on a
grievance committee. For example, I believe that Mr. Kramer, as an Assistant State Attorney, is a
government official. This is not permitted on an actual grand jury.
In an actual grand jury witnesses will be called one by one and placed under oath to tell the truth,
and subject to penalties for perjury. Under Rule 3-7.4(d) grievance committees may be informal
in nature and the committees shall not be bound by the rules of evidence. Under Rule 3-7.4(h)
the respondent may be required to testify and to produce evidence...and given an opportunity to
make a written statement, sworn or unsworn, explaining, refuting, or admitting the alleged
misconduct. No one is placed under oath nor subject to the penalties for perjury in the Bar's
"grand jury".
Given the result of the grievance committee in my case, I believe Messrs. Bauer and Rodems (and
perhaps others) made false statements and misrepresentations prejudicial to the administration of justice.
In an actual grand jury, witnesses must be truthful of face penalty of perjury. In the Bar’s "grand jury"
providing false information appears commonplace, and it appears that lying goes unchecked and
unpunished. From what I see, it is a routine part of the process to allow the respondent to avoid justice.
Even former adversaries such as Mr. Rodems can, in essence, join with the respondent against the
I found nothing in the rules that would prevent the respondent, the respondent’s counsel or designee, a
witness, or a third party, from independently contacting members of the grievance committee to
influence their vote.
The following are events in my bar complaint against Mr. Bauer: (please correct if needed)
Pursuant to Rule 3-7.3(a) bar counsel Annemarie Craft (ACAP) reviewed my complaint/inquiry against
Mr. Bauer and determined that the alleged conduct, if proven, would constitute a violation of the Rules
Regulating The Florida Bar warranting the imposition of discipline. Ms. Craft notified me (October 13,
2010) that she forwarded the complaint to The Florida Bar's Tallahassee Branch Office for
consideration. Ms. Craft was the second bar counsel assigned; the initial bar counsel, William Kitchen,
was removed from the inquiry.
Pursuant to Rule 3-7.3(c) my complaint (July 29, 2010) was in writing and under oath, although the
response from Mr. Bauer, and a 13 page diatribe from attorney Ryan C. Rodems were not made under
oath. (Note: The Bauer and Rodems correspondence contained a number of false statements and
misrepresentations prejudicial to the administration of justice.)
Pursuant to Rule 3-7.3(b) bar counsel James A G Davey, Jr. in the Tallahassee Branch Office decided to
pursue an inquiry, opened a disciplinary file as a complaint, and investigated the allegations contained in
the complaint.
Pursuant to Rule 3-7.3(f) Mr. Davey referred the complaint (November 5, 2010) to Melissa Murphy,
Chair Eighth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee "B" for its further investigation. Mr. Davey
instructed Ms. Murphy assign the complaint to a grievance committee member for investigation and
enclosed a Notice of Assignment of Investigating Member and/or Panel form. Mr. Kramer was assigned
as investigating member (November 15, 2010.
Pursuant to Rule 3-7.4(j) Finding of No Probable Cause (1) the grievance committee terminated the
investigation by finding that no probable cause exists to believe that the respondent has violated these
In a letter dated March 18, 2011, you wrote me stating that: "Pursuant to Rule 3-7.4(k), this document
serves as a Letter Report of No Probable Cause Finding. On the basis of a diligent and impartial analysis
of all the information available, on March IS, 2011, the grievance committee found no probable cause
for further disciplinary proceedings in this matter. The membership of the committee is made up of both
attorneys and non-attorneys. This case is now closed." (relevant portion)
Rule 3-7.4(k) states: "(k) Letter Reports in No Probable Cause Cases. Upon a finding of no probable
cause, bar counsel will submit a letter report of the no probable cause finding to the complainant,
Page 2 of 4
presiding member, investigating member, and the respondent, including any documentation deemed
appropriate by bar counsel and explaining why the complaint did not warrant further
proceedings." (relevant portion)
It appears that your letter of March 18, 2011 fails to comply with Rule 3-7.4(k) because it failed to
explain why the complaint did not warrant further proceedings given the overwhelming evidence of
misconduct. You also failed to include any documentation explaining why the complaint did not warrant
further proceedings.
The second paragraph of your March 18, 2011 letter states: "Because the Bar only has the authority to
address questions of ethics, the committee could not address any legal issues about which you may feel
concerned. If you have further concerns about what your legal remedies may be, you must consult with
legal counsel of your choice. The Florida Bar is unable to provide legal advice in this respect."
Consult with legal counsel of your choice? That statement belies the fact that Mr. Bauer, a referral from
the bar, was my counsel to represent me against prior counsel Barker, Rodems & Cook, PA. Subsequent
to Mr. Bauer, I retained attorney Seldon J. Childers to review the representations or Mr. Bauer and
Barker, Rodems & Cook, PA. Mr. Childers prepared but refused to sign the following documents
(September 17, 2009) regarding the prior representation, and dropped the matter when I would not agree
to a "walk-away" settlement with the prior attorneys.
Analysis of Case and Recommendation
Economic Analysis Spreadsheet
Case Spreadsheet
So it appears your suggestion to "consult with legal counsel of your choice" is not tenable.
Subsequent to the closure of the complaint, I learned that Melissa Murphy, Chair Eighth Judicial Circuit
Grievance Committee "B", is with the firm Salter, Feiber, Murphy, Hutson & Menet, P.A.. Attached you
will find correspondence dated April 22, 2009 from Kristine Van Vorst of Salter Feiber, addressed to
me, declining representation in a mortgage matter. When I called Ms. Van Vorst for a referral April 27,
2009, she was not available and I spoke with Kimberly, an assistant. Kimberly suggested Robert Bauer,
then Barbara Cusumando. So it appears that Salter Feiber is biased in favor of Mr. Bauer, a fact that may
have prevented a fair consideration of the complaint by Ms. Murphy, the presiding member of the
grievance committee.
While a complainant has no right of appeal (Rule 3-7.4(i)) I ask that the designated reviewer request a
review by the disciplinary review committee (Rule 3-7.5(a)(2)) and make a recommendation of probable
cause that further disciplinary proceedings are warranted. (Rule 3-7.5(a)(5)(G). Rule 3-7.5 refers to a
"disciplinary review committee" but this term is not defined in Rule 3-2.1 so please explain. I do not
believe a review by the grievance committee would be useful since it ruled 5-0 against action and
appears Salter Feiber is biased in favor of Mr. Bauer, but do not reject such review out of hand.
In my view the grievance process is a parody of justice. Thank you.
Neil Gillespie
8092 SW 115th Loop
Ocala, FL 34481
Page 3 of 4

cc: Mr. James A G Davey, Jr.
Mr. Brian Kramer
Ms. Melissa Murphy
Mr. Carl B Schwait
----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Watson
To: Neil Gillespie
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:36 PM
Subject: Re: Complaint, Gillespie v Robert W. Bauer, The Florida Bar File No. 2011-00,073(8B)

Mr. Gillespie:

        I did not state that the grievance commitee operated like a grand jury....what I said was that
their deliberations were confidential like those of a grand jury.

        It is not necessary that there be non-lawyer members present to constitute a quorum....as my
original email said a quorum requires three or more members and
two of those three members must be lawyers.

        Mr. Schwait is one of the Board of Governors members for the 8th Judicial Circuit.  He
represents the interests of the attorneys who practice in the 8th circuit
as well as takes part in the review of Greivance Committee actions and any disciplinary matters that
are referred to the Board of Governors for actions required under our
        Any further matters which you might raise will have to wait until next week as I am preparing for
a trial that begins on Friday.  Thanking you for you consideration..Jim Watson
Jim Watson, Chief Branch Discipline Counsel
The Florida Bar
Tallahassee Branch Office of Lawyer Regulation
651 E. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL  32399-2300
(850)561-5783 / (850)561-5829 (fax)
Page 4 of 4
1. The enclosed letter is an informal inquiry. Your response is required under the
provisions of The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar 4 8.4(g), Rules of Professional Conduct.
Failure to provide a written response to this complaint is in itself a violation of Rule 4 8.4(g). If
you do not respond, the matter will be forwarded to the grievance committee for disposition in
accordance with Rule 3-7.3 of the Rules of Discipline.
2. Many complaints considered first by staff counsel are not forwarded to a grievance
committee, as they do not involve violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct justifying
disciplinary action.
3. "Pursuant to Rule 3-7.1 (a), Rules of Discipline, any response by you in these proceedings
shall become part of the public record of this matter and thereby become accessible to the public
upon the closure of the case by Bar counselor upon a finding of no probable cause, probable
cause, minor misconduct, or recommendation of diversion. Disclosure during the pendency of
an investigation may be made only as to status if a specific inquiry concerning this case is made
and if this matter is generally known to be in the public domain."
4. The grievance committee is the Bar's "grand jury." Its function and procedure are set
forth in Rule 3-7.4. Proceedings before the grievance committee, for the most part, are non­
adversarial in nature. However, you should carefully review Chapter 3 of the Rules Regulating
The Florida Bar.
5. If the grievance committee finds probable cause, formal adversarial proceedings, which
ordinarily lead to disposition by the Supreme Court of Florida, will be commenced under
3-7.6, unless a plea is submitted under Rule 3-7.
3940 NW 16
POST OFFICE Box 357399
FAX 352.376.7996
April 22, 2009
Neil J. Gillespie
8092 SW 11S
Ocala, FI 34481
RE: Representation
Dear Mr. Gillespie:
Thank you for your correspondence dated April 20, 2009 including attachments thereto.
On the basis of our preliminary review of the facts of your claim, we have concluded that
we are not interested in pursuing the possibility of handling of your claim. Of course, we are not
passing judgment on the merits of any claims that might be made on your behalf.
This letter confirms that we have not been retained as attorneys for you on any basis.
However, we do urge you to retain an attorney as soon as possible if you want to pursue any
claims that might exist to recover damages on your mother's behalf.
We have not undertaken to advise you concerning any statutes of limitation that might be
applicable to your claim. Again, if you want to pursue any· claims, you should retain an attorney
as soon as possible and obtain advice from that attorney concerning the applicable statutes of
limitation. We suggest that }'ou contact The Florida Bar Referral Service at 1-800- 342-8011 in
getting a referral for an attorney in your area.
We appreciate the opportunity to discuss your case with you.
JOHN F. HARKNESS, JR. TALLAHASSEE, FL 32399-2300 850/561-5600
December 7,2011
Mr. Neil 1. Gillespie
8092 SW 115th Loop
Ocala, Florida 34481
Dear Mr. Gillespie:
Paul Hill asked me to respond to your email since it relates to discipline, wherein you state:
"Over the past year or so a number of people have contacted me through my website about
attorney misconduct and dissatisfaction with the Bar's discipline of these attorneys. The
following are some of the attorneys complained about, and all are profiled on my website:
Michael Vincent Laurato, Bar ID # 181447
Ryan Christopher Rodems, Bar ID # 947652
Allen Howard Libow, Bar ID # 899135
Robert W. Bauer, Bar ID #11058
Bar complaints have been made against all of the above, and the only one disciplined has been
Mr. Laurato. In addition, all of the above have been sued by clients or vendors. In every case the
amount of court resources consumed by these lawsuits is out of proportion to the initial dispute
because the lawyers are able to litigate at little expense. Each of the above attorneys have been
involved in multiple disputes with clients or other parties. These disputes are often public and
bring discredit to the practice of law.
It seems a small percentage of Florida's lawyers are responsible for the bulk of the alleged
misconduct. This undermines the profession and respect for the courts. Why is the Bar reluctant
to stop the practice of this small number of lawyers who misuse their law license in a manner of
revenge against people with legitimate disputes?"
The Bar is not reluctant to enforce the rules that all lawyers must follow. The Bar has no
authority to prohibit anyone, including lawyers, from filing a law suit. The Constitution requires
each individual have access to the Courts. If the lawsuit has merit then the plaintiff will prevail,
if not then the defendant will prevail and the Bar has no authority to intervene in a civil lawsuit
on either side.
Mr. Neil 1. Gillespie
December 6, 2011
Page 2
If the lawyer files a lawsuit against someone who has filed a complaint against that lawyer, the
complainant has the immunity provided for in Tobkin v. Jarboe, 710 So. 2d 975 (Fla. 1998). If
the Judge hearing the case makes a finding that the lawyer filed a frivolous pleading, then that
lawyer would have violated the below rule. In the case of The Florida Bar v. Kelly, 813 So. 2d
85 (Fla. 2002), Mr. Kelly was suspended for 91 days for filing a frivolous lawsuit against his
former client who had filed a grievance against him.
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless
there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith
argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. A lawyer for the defendant
in a criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration,
may nevertheless so defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the case be
Comment: The advocate has a duty to use legal procedure for the fullest benefit of the client's
cause, but also a duty not to abuse legal procedure. The law, both procedural and substantive,
establishes the limits within which an advocate may proceed. However, the law is not always
clear and never is static. Accordingly, in determining the proper scope of advocacy, account
must be taken of the law's ambiguities and potential for change.
The filing of an action or defense or similar action taken for a client is not frivolous merely
because the facts have not first been fully substantiated or because the lawyer expects to develop
vital evidence only by discovery. What is required of lawyers, however, is that they inform
themselves about the facts of their clients' cases and the applicable law and determine that they
can make good faith arguments in support of their clients' positions. Such action is not frivolous
even though the lawyer believes that the client's position ultimately will not prevail. The action
is frivolous, however, if the lawyer is unable either to make a good faith argument on the merits
of the action taken or to support the action taken by a good faith argument for an. extension,
modification, or reversal of existing law.
The lawyer's obligations under this rule are subordinate to federal or state constitutional law that
entitles a defendant in a criminal matter to the assistance of counsel in presenting a claim or
contention that otherwise would be prohibited by this rule.
J ~ Q ~
Kenneth Lawrence Marvin
Staff Counsel
Director, Lawyer Regulation
Published: July 21, 2011
Updated: July 22, 2011 - 9:50 AM
Home / news / local /
By Shannon Behnken
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A Hillsborough County judge seeking to tame a backlog of thousands of foreclosure lawsuits is raising
questions from critics who wonder whether she should be hearing foreclosure cases at all.
Judge Martha J. Cook has an ownership interest in Community Bank, where her husband, William H.
Sedgeman Jr., serves as chairman and chief executive, public documents show.
The bank, known formally as Community Bank of Manatee, has 17 locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.
The bank has been hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis and has struggled to shed troubled assets.
Like most banks, Community Bank often finds itself as a plaintiff against homeowners in foreclosure cases.
"It's reasonable that a homeowner would fear they aren't going to get a fair hearing before her," said Mark
Stopa, a foreclosure defense attorney. "There's no way I could go into court before her without thinking about
But Cook said she is not prejudiced.
"I don't have bias," Cook said. "I listed my connection, as required by the law. Beyond that, my personal life
is my personal life."
The state's Judicial Qualifications commission's code of conduct does not expressly prohibit judges from
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owning stock in companies they may see in the courtroom, but it does require disclosure.
The financial disclosures must be filed yearly with the Florida Commission on Ethics. On forms filed for 2007
and 2008, Cook checked a box indicating she had more than 5 percent interest in the bank. In 2009 and 2010,
Cook indicated she still had an interest but that it was less than 5 percent.
Cook told the Tribune she disclosed this because of her husband's interest in the bank. She said she doesn't
hear cases involving his bank and doesn't feel she has a conflict of interest by overseeing foreclosures by
other banks.
The 13th Judicial Circuit, which includes Hillsborough County, has nearly 30,000 foreclosure cases at some
stage in the court system. Cook is one of 10 judges assigned those cases. This time last year, the state
implemented a program to shed the backlog. Retired senior judges were brought back to hear foreclosure
But the program was controversial, and judges were accused of rubber-stamping foreclosures and not
checking documents. This came to a boil late last year when some banks admitted that employees fabricated
documents and forged signatures. The legislature discontinued Florida's foreclosure program, and starting this
month, it's now up to elected judges, such as Cook, to hear cases.
Mike Bridenback, court administrator for Hillsborough County, said Cook was the first to add foreclosure
cases to her July calendar. Working through the backlog is important to the circuit, he said, but judges still
want to give homeowners who chose to fight their foreclosure a chance to be heard.
Bridenback said he wasn't aware of Cook's relationship with the local bank. He said each judge has to decide
whether they have a conflict of interest and that he's not aware of any problems with her cases.
"Judges have lives beyond the bench," Bridenback said.
Henry P. Trawick Jr., a Sarasota lawyer and author of Florida's Practice and Procedure, a textbook used by
lawyers, said it's good that Cook disqualifies herself from hearing cases that involved her husband's bank. But
he said she should go a step further.
"I think she shouldn't hear foreclosure cases," Trawick said. "That's what I would do if I had that close of a
connection, but perhaps my ethical standards are higher."
The problem, Trawick said, is whether or not Cook shows favor to the banks; those representing homeowners
may feel like she might.
Hillsborough's other nine judges have not owned bank stock over at least the past four years, according to
state disclosure documents.
Stopa, the foreclosure defense attorney, said Cook once told him in court that she thought the "only way to
improve the economy is to push through foreclosures as soon as possible."
Cook said she was misquoted, but she declined to correct the statement.
Mike Wasylik, a foreclosure defense attorney, said he's had few cases before Cook but is uncomfortable with
her connection to a local bank.
"A judge has the duty to avoid even the appearance of bias," Wasylik said. "She may have personal opinions
about the need to push foreclosures through quickly."
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Phyllis Kotey, a professor at FIU School of Law, said the connections show an "appearance of personal and
financial interest."
"At the very least, parties before her should be put on notice and have the opportunity to object to her hearing
their cases."
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