If I were ask what I consider the finest moment in this blog's history, I would answer its months-long campaign to expose the judicial malfeasance of Judge Jeri Beth Cohen. Of course, I didn't draw her name out of a hat, which is how she must have been picked in the first place to be a judge. Her interest to RCAB lay in the fact that the case of Elián González was being heard, at long last and by proxy, in her courtroom. Another abused Cuban child, this time a girl, was being threatened with deportation to Communist Cuba because the father who had abandoned her at birth had decided that the road to fame and fortune for him was to sacrifice his daughter's future as Juan Miguel González had his son's. Judge Cohen, who saw the itinerant pig farmer Rafael Izquierdo as some noble savage out of Rousseau and not as a pawn in international politics, found him fit to be a "marginal father" and awarded him custody of Elenita, pending an appeal to a higher court. Before it could render its decision, however, a compromise was reached between the foster parents and the putative father which assured that Elenita would remain in the U.S. for at least 2 more years, when, hopefully, her return to Cuba will be either a moot question or one out of Cohen's hands.
The best way to assure that Judge Jeri Beth Cohen has no further say in Elenita's life is to remove her from the bench. Let me say that this is long overdue and that I am and will always be puzzled how someone who holds opinions about Cubans as racist and xenophobic as Cohen's could have been elected to office in Miami-Dade County in the first place. I suppose she kept her mouth shut then, as did Janet Reno in her day. But the bile will out and it did one day in her courtroom in July 2002, when she proclaimed "I do not think that they deport people back to Cuba. That is our big problem. If we deport people back to Cuba, we could empty our jails. We would have it made and be happy, but we cannot." Ironically, this was said in the context of a denatured parent's request that his 17-year old son be deported to Cuba. The Cuban-American Bar Association demanded an apology and threatened to file a complaint against her with the state's judicial ethics review panel, as would certainly have been done immediately if the subject of her comments had belonged to any other racial or ethnic minority? Can you imagine the uproar if Cohen had advocated repatriating all blacks to Africa, as Thomas Jefferson and other worthies once did? The Cuban-American lawyers, who still had to plead before her in court, accepted her apology on behalf of all Cubans and her faux pas was quickly forgiven and forgotten (contrary to The Miami Herald's assertions today). I am still amazed that I was the first to cite her quote in relation to this case. The Miami Herald certainly had "forgotten" and so had everybody else.
Well, The Herald has made amends by resurrecting that quote in an article about Abbie Corral, who represented Elenita's foster parents Joe and María Cubas during the custody trial and is now running against Judge Cohen in the November election. Ms. Corral could have picked one of several open seats and run uncontested for judge. Instead, she chose to challenge Judge Cohen for her seat. This will be the first challenge that Cohen will face since she was first elected in 1992. Of 32 sitting judges, only she and three others are running in contested races,which is yet another judicial scandal. If 32 state legislators were running for re-election unopposed, I think most would agree that the democratic process had broken down.
Not because she is a Cuban, not because she was Elenita's defender, but because she is not Judge Jeri Beth Cohen, I am endorsing Abbie Corral for circuit judge in Miami-Dade County. Besides McCain that will be RCAB's only endorsement this year.
One last thing: every day there are at least 3-4 visitors to this blog who come here by googling "Jeri Beth Cohen." This is because RCAB's coverage of the Elenita case pretty much defines Judge Cohen on the internet. I could not be more pleased or proud.
"What Can You Do for Me, Baby?"
In Elenita's Case, Freedom Wins
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Stopped Dead in Her Tracks By Appellate Court
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Seeks the Spotlight Again
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Awaits Her Report Card
Judge Cohen: The Little Girl Is Lying
Now Judge Cohen Officially Banishes the Truth from Her Courtroom
A Letter to Florida Governor Crist Appealing for Elenita's Life
More Fabricated Evidence Exposed and the "C Word" Banned from Judge Cohen's Courtroom
Elenita's Fairy Tale: Grimm Was Never This Grimm
What Judge Jeri B. Cohen Should Take to Bed Every Night
Judge Jeri B. Cohen's Decision: We Should All Want "Marginal" Fathers
Ana Menéndez Psychoanalyzes Cuban Exiles
The Real Parents — Joe and María Cubas
Joe Cubas: Castro's Worst Nightmare (and Henry's)
Ana Menéndez & Robert Molleda: The Hag and the Gelding; Or, Love in the Stable
Notable and Hateful: No Mercy for Children Who Straggle From Castro's Knee
What Creature Do I Despise the Most in the World?
The "Elenitas" Keep Multiplying
Is Oscar Corral In Cabaiguán, Cuba?
The Saga of Babalú's Henry Gómez & Alex of SotP
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Just "Hates It; Hates It; Hates It"
Judge Jeri Beth Cohen Gets Her Man (Off)
The Guajiro Hamlet: Rafael Izquiedo
Elián's Father was "Adopted" Too
The Last Redoubt of Magical Realism: Judge Jeri Beth Cohen's Courtroom
By Their Scars You Will Know Them: The Ordeal of Elenita and Her Brother
Castro's Lawyers Kurzban & Davis Face Disbarment in Cubas-Izquierdo Custody Battle
Cui Bono: The Unasked Question in Judge Cohen's Courtroom
Elena Pérez: Her Life As a Mother and a Mistress (Or Chasing Cod in Cabaiguan)
Letter to Elena Pérez: Birth Mother of the Cuban Refugee Girl
Judge Jeri B. Cohen: Love Child of Janet Reno and Doris Meissner
The Poor Little Cuban Girl that They Call "Eliana"
Notable & Variable: Well, Well, Henry
What "American-Cuban" Bloggers Really Think About "Eliana"
¡Viva Ziva! The Moral Conscience of Babalu Blog